TEL AVIV, Israel (AP) — Google is searching for promising Israeli high-tech companies. The international technology giant on Monday launched its “Campus Tel Aviv,” a 1,500-square-foot (140-square-meter) space that will hold regular events for local entrepreneurs and offer access to Google staff and other industry experts.

The facility will also host “Launchpad,” a selective, free two-week boot camp for early stage start-ups. It plans to help 100 promising Israeli start-ups there each year.

Google calls the facility an “innovation hub” for Israel’s many start-ups.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attended Monday’s launch and praised Israel as the “start-up nation,” the world’s second-largest center of tech start-ups after Silicon Valley.

“The world is flying fast,” he said, “and we’re leading the way.”

Benjamin Netanyahu's Hanukkah Google doodle (photo credit: courtesy GPO)

Benjamin Netanyahu’s Hanukkah Google doodle (photo credit: courtesy GPO)

During his visit, Netanyahu drew a “Google doodle,” marking the Jewish festival of Hannukah.

Google started its first Launchpad last year in London.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.