The cyber revolution is at its height. The meeting point between the power of thought and connectivity is changing our world, and affecting all spheres of life, as individuals and as a nation. Israel's power in science and technology is creating a great opportunity to position ourselves in the forefront of cybernetic innovation.
Together with the opportunities, there are also risks. Everything is penetrable in the cyber era: our personal details, commercial and defense secrets, national infrastructure - anything can be stolen, disrupted and destroyed. The worst cyber attacks against organizations and countries in recent years around the world have taught us an obvious lesson - cyber defense is an essential condition for national security and economic growth in the 21st century.
Israel has been one of the first countries to prepare systematically and with determination for this challenge. Five years ago, I set the goal of making Israel one of the five leading global cyber powers. We are already placed very high, and the world regards us as a rising power. Enhancing our capabilities in the cyber field requires continuous effort. We are working simultaneously on five different levels in order to achieve the vision I presented.
First of all, we are developing a national cyber strategy. We are devising a continuous and complete defensive response for all the entities in the country - in order to present, neutralize, and contain cyber threats and events. We are promoting close cooperation between the government and security establishment and the private sector for this purpose.
Our goal is to ensure survivability, resilience, and defense in training individual organizations and the entire economy to respond effectively to cyber events, and to provide an appropriate national response to sophisticated attackers, and to attacks on a large scale.
Secondly, we are founding the National Cyber Defense Authority. We are putting all the relevant authority and capabilities for cyber defense under one roof. The Authority will begin operating soon, and will include the best professionals in its ranks. As an operational civilian agency, it will bear overall responsibility for cyber defense; work closely with the defense agencies, elements of the economy, and the private sector; and balance national security needs against basic democratic rights.
Thirdly, we are developing scientific and technological infrastructure. Cyberspace is essentially technological, and therefore requires continual renewal of Israel's technological advantage over potential attackers. We are therefore fostering an environment of cyber innovation in cooperation with government, academic institutions, and industry.
We are investing in applied research and development and in theoretical research at research institutes in cooperation with Tel Aviv, Ben Gurion, and Bar Ilan Universities, and with the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the Technion Israel Institute of Technology. We are training professional personnel in cyberspace through special programs at high schools, in outlying areas, in the haredi sector, among immigrants, etc.
Fourthly, we are promoting the Israeli cyber industry. I appreciate the cyber sector as a great growth engine for Israel. Israeli industry has consolidated its global status far beyond the relative size of the Israeli economy. We are investing a great deal of capital and effort in encouraging this industry and opening markets for it throughout the world. We attach special importance to the opening of a national cyber center in Beer Sheva, which is acting as a magnet for leading cyber companies from Israel and overseas. The government is granting incentives to these companies, which are seeking to expand their activity in the cyber park.
Fifthly, we are encouraging international cooperation. Technological and operation cooperation with other countries is needed against the cyber threat reaching across geographic borders. Israel's cyber capabilities enable us to create these partnerships, and to expand our political, economic, and security connections with many countries. Our goal is to make sure that cyberspace remains open and safe, and facilitates economic prosperity and social welfare. We will continue our preparations for tomorrow's challenges, and will exploit any opportunity to fortify our position on the global cyber map.
Benjamin Netanyahu is Prime Minister of Israel
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on April 3, 2016
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