Israel’s dire security situation has propelled it to become one of the world leaders of cyber security. The entire field only exists for around 20 years. However, the Start-Up Nation has already established itself at the forefront of this growing field.
Just last year Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke at the Cybertech 2017 conference. He proudly spoke about Israel’s accomplishments. “Two years ago I set the goal for Israel to become one of the top five cyber-security powers in the world. It is a goal we have met,” said Netanyahu.
He continued that “today Israel receives roughly one fifth of the world’s global private investment in cybersecurity. You are in a wonderful business. Its endless.” This point is very important for the future of Israel’s economy. Now that Israel is a magnet for hi-tech investments, Israel will lead the world in cyber-security for future decades.
How did Israel become a global leader in cybersecurity?
Journalist and senior defense correspondent Alon Ben-David explains. “Israel is a small community..an island…surrounded by enemies. She uses its creativity to compensate for its lack of resources. It is a country that needs to conduct constant surveillance on her neighbors for one simple reason. Israel is under constant threat of annihilation from them. Israel understood that going to war and launching massive military operations bears unbearable prices. First off all, the cost in human lives is of course the greatest tragedy of war. But, even the economic costs and PR costs are a big part of the equation too. Cyber security, therefore, was the right answer for the many things that Israel needs to do.”
Cyber Security is a Revolution
Ben-David continues “cyber is a total revolution of the concept of war. It changes everything that we have thought about war. It changes how war has been conducted and what are the rules of war. For example, one new question that must be asked is, “who is the enemy we are fighting?” Can you even recognize the enemy at all? Many countries have very dangerous cyber tools. And some are even using them viciously like the Russians. And the Chinese… are trying to use them against other countries. We all understand the vulnerabilities of critical infrastructure. And we all understand the vulnerabilities of privacy. I fear that the good 70 years of prospering democracies and prosperity in the West, post World War II, are over.”
Israel is now developing the desert city of Beer-Sheva into the central hub of cyber security. Israel’s goal is to position itself as a cyber security power. This military-industrial cyber project is perhaps Israel’s largest infrastructure project in the country’s history.
Privacy vs. Security
Privacy vs security is an interesting question that we need to deal with. The VICE video tries to paint Israel in a negative light. It highlights some of the surveillance activities that top IDF units perform in the “palestinian” Arab population. This is of course necessary, but it is also controversial. Some soldiers, including the one interviewed in the video, do not feel comfortable with that surveillance. It is a very reasonable sentiment. However, there is no question that a choice needs to be made between privacy and saving lives. It is clear that strong surveillance helps stop numerous terrorist attacks. Therefore, for our own safety, it is a good thing that Israel keeps a watchful eye on our neighbors.