Fears about Israel's security situation forced Applied Materials Israel to move its technical training center from Rehovot to Austin, Texas.

The Israeli center had served to train people in using inspection kits for semiconductors production. But travel warnings from foreign governments, advising their citizens to steer clear of Israel, induced the company to move its training facility, manager Gilad Almogy told TheMarker.

The company has an emergency plan ready in case of escalating violence in Israel, Almogy said, but declined to provide details. A few dozen of the company's employees had been called into military reserves duty in Israel's Defensive Shield operation, but that the draft had not impaired the company's activity in Israel, Almogy said.

Day Maydan, president of Applied Materials, said in October 2001 that the Israel branch is expected to achieve $1 billion sales within two to three years.

The group's sales did suffer from the semiconductors slowdown. Applied Materials, Inc., the world's largest supplier of wafer fabrication solutions to the semiconductor industry, reported net sales of $1.16 billion for the second fiscal quarter ended April 28, 2002, up 16% from $1 billion for the first fiscal quarter of 2002, and down 46% from $2.14 billion for the second fiscal quarter of 2001.

Applied Materials Israel is the diagnostics and control (PDC) business group of Santa Clara, California-based

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, which develops, makes, markets and services semiconductor wafer fabrication equipment and related spare parts. The Israel outfit employs about 1,000 people, of whom half work in R&D.