Shwed: We must fight to keep cybersecurity in Israel

Gil Shwed: credit:  Shlomi Yosef
Gil Shwed: credit: Shlomi Yosef

In the press conference following Check Point's second quarter results, CEO Gil Shwed was asked about Israel's political situation.

At a virtual press conference to discuss the company's second quarter results, Check Point Software Technologies Ltd. (Nasdaq: CHKP) founder and CEO Gil Shwed was asked about the current political situation in Israel.

Shwed is known for not expressing his opinions on politics in Israel, unlike other senior tech entrepreneurs who are deeply involved in the protests against the judicial legislation. In response to a question on the subject, Shwed said, "The recent events are difficult for all of us. We see it from the window here, we feel the rift in Israeli society that hurts us all. I am concerned with ensuring that this rift will not be at Check Point. It is not easy, but it is successful because we leave politics outside the door.

"People can express their opinion, demonstrate, but the line we took as a company many years ago, has proven itself within the organization and allows us to act very cohesively. I try not to speak for the company on political issues. I keep my opinions to myself. Everyone voices opinions in Israeli society and unfortunately, I don't think that if I added my opinion it would have matter to anyone."

Shwed was asked if he was worried about the Moody's report issued yesterday. He said, "Certainly it should worry us. The Israeli economy is very important to us, and when there are negative recommendations about it, then that is not good. We should hope that the situation will start to change."

Asked if there are more enquiries from employees requesting relocation abroad, Schweid responded that this has never been part of the company's business model, although since the Covid Pandemic it has been more open to remote work and there are employees who request that. He added that he did not know if it is related to the situation but according to Shwed the numbers are currently zero.

Check Point's share price has risen only 2% since the start of 2023, compared with a 35% rise in the Nasdaq index, although in 2022 it recorded a positive return while the Nasdaq index fell significantly. Shwed was asked if he felt pressure on the stock from investors who fear the uncertainty in Israel? "I hear a lot of things from other companies, certainly from private companies that are trying to raise money, and it's not easy. We haven't seen it so far, and we haven't been asked much, but I expect that they will ask more about the situation. Meanwhile, the stock is stable and I hope that will continue."

Shwed was also asked if he would have registered a company in Israel today if he was a young entrepreneur and he replied that he did not know. "For years we struggled to consolidate activity in Israel and I led such a policy," he said. "I don't know if this is what would happen today because it is not trivial, and those who press on the issue are usually the investors and not the entrepreneurs. 30 years ago Israel was not an acceptable place to register high-tech companies, since then, it has become a strong brand, and from what I hear the desire to register companies has eroded in recent months. I am happy that I am in Israel, I want to continue here and I hope that it will continue to be an attractive place."

From a business point of view, he says that Israel is the second largest cybersecurity center after the US. "We have to fight to keep it that way," Shwed said. I don't think it's the state's job to take care of us, but it should allow an environment where the industry can take care of itself."

Shwed said that despite all the challenges, customers were staying loyal. He noted that in Israel there is a rise cyberattacks, especially ransom attacks, with a 125% increase, and 1 out of every 18 organizations attacked. Shwed said, "We are under attack daily from Iranian organizations, some of them do it only on an ideological basis of harming Israel, and some also have a financial motivation."

Published by Globes, Israel business news - - on July 26, 2023.

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd., 2023.

Gil Shwed: credit:  Shlomi Yosef
Gil Shwed: credit: Shlomi Yosef
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