Event: The Secret of Israeli Cyber Innovation

Event: The Secret of Israeli Cyber Innovation

Date: July 28, 2021 | 12pm | Virtual

If you're under the impression that every time you look up another Israeli cyber startup has reached "unicorn" status — the coveted $1B valuation - you're not entirely mistaken. Israel has hundreds of top cyber startups, many with unique solutions not available anywhere else. Numerous multinationals also do cyber R&D in Israel. And as the nation's enemies know, its cyber warfare capabilities are world class.

Why though is such a tiny country of barely nine million people such a hotspot for cyber? The answer is Israel's unique cyber ecosystem. This special event will explore the secret behind Israeli cyber prowess — Israel's "secret innovation sauce." Some of the questions to be considered are:

  • How does the Israeli Government promote and support innovation?
  • What role does the Israeli military's legendary Unit 8200 play in the cyber ecosystem?
  • How do Israeli Universities fit into this whole picture?
  • How is cyber talent identified and nurtured from a young age?
  • How do Israeli cultural traits such as inventiveness and a willingness to risk failure contribute to a successful startup ecosystem?
  • What can others learn from Israel about promoting innovation?

Panelists will be completely virtual.

Keynote Speaker

Major Gen. (Res.) Professor Isaac Ben-Israel
Major Gen. (Res.) Professor Isaac Ben-Israel

Isaac Ben-Israel was born in Israel (Tel-Aviv), 1949. He studied Mathematics, Physics and Philosophy at Tel-Aviv University, receiving his Ph.D. in 1988. He joined the Israel Air Force (IAF) after graduating high school (1967) and has served continuously up to his retirement (2002).

During his service, Isaac Ben-Israel has held several posts in operations, intelligence and weapon development units of the IAF. He headed the IAF Operations Research Branch, Analysis and Assessment Division of IAF Intelligence, and was the Head of Military R&D in Israel Defence Forces and Ministry of Defence (1991-1997). In January 1998 he was promoted to Major General and appointed as Director of Defence R&D Directorate in IMOD. During his service he received twice the Israeli Defence Award.

After retirement from the IDF Isaac Ben Israel joined the University of Tel-Aviv as a professor and was the head of Curiel Centre for International Studies (2002-2004), the head of the Program for Security Studies (2004-2007), Executive Director of the Interdisciplinary Centre for Technological Analysis & Forecasting at Tel-Aviv University (ICTAF) (2010-2013), Deputy Director of the Hartog School of Government and Policy in Tel-Aviv University (2005-2015) and a member of Jaffe Centre for Strategic Studies (2002-2004). In 2002 he founded and headed the Yuval Ne’eman Workshop for Science, Technology and Security. He was a member of the Board of Trustees of Ariel University Centre (2009-2011), and a member of the advisory council of Neaman Institute for Advanced Studies in Science and Technology at the Technion (2000-2010).

In 2002 he founded RAY-TOP (Technology Opportunities) Ltd, consulting governments and industries in technological and strategic issues.

Professor Ben-Israel was a member of the 17th Knesset (Israeli Parliament) between June 2007 and February 2009. During this period he was a member of the Security and Foreign Affairs Committee, the Finance Committee, the Science & Technology committee, the Chairman of the Homeland Security Sub Committee and the Chairman of the Israeli–Indian Parliamentary Friendship Association.

In 2011 he was appointed by the Prime Minister to lead a task force that formulated Israel national Cyber policy. Following that he founded the National Cyber Headquarters in the PM Office. In 2014 he was appointed again by the PM to lead another task force which resulted in a government decision (February 2015) to set up a new Notional Cyber Authority.

Isaac Ben Israel was a member of the board of directors of IAI (2000-2002), the board of the Israel Corp. (2004-2007) and the R&D advisory board of TEVA (2003-2007) and Chairman of the Technion Entrepreneurial Incubator (2007).

Professor Ben-Israel has written numerous papers on military and security issues. His book Dialogues on Science and Military Intelligence (1989) won the Itzhak-Sade Award for Military Literature. His book on The Philosophy of Military Intelligence had been published by the Broadcast University (1999) and has been translated into French (2004). His book Science, Technology and Security: From Soldiers in Combat up to Outer Space, was published in 2006. His book on Israel Defence Doctrine was published in 2013.

Isaac is married to Inbal (née Marcus) and they have three sons: Yuval (1981), Roy (1984) and Alon (1988).

Current Positions

  • Chairman of Israel Space Agency (since 2005).
  • Chairman of Israel National Council for R&D (since 2010).
  • Professor at Tel-Aviv University, teaching at the Security Studies Program (since 2002) and at the Cohen Institute for the History & Philosophy of Sciences and Ideas (since 1989).
  • Positions at Tel-Aviv University: Head of Security Studies Program (since 2004-2007, 2010-). Head of the Blavatnik Interdisciplinary Cyber Studies Centre (since 2014). Head of the Yuval Ne’eman Workshop for Science, Technology and Security (since 2002).
  • Member of the board of Fisher Institute for Air and Space Strategic Studies (since 2000).
  • Member of the academic council of Afeka - Tel-Aviv Academic College of Engineering(since 2003).
  • Founder and CEO of RAY TOP Technologies (since 2002).


Armando Seay
Armando Seay

Armando Seay is a Co-founder and Director for the Maryland Innovation and Security Institute (MISI). Armando is also a Director and Technical Program Director for MISI's DreamPort cyber solutions accelerator. Armando leads the critical infrastructure cybersecurity team and tech outreach and partner engagement support functions for MISI and DreamPort. Armando is responsible for engagement across the nation and the globe to connect with thought leaders and disruptors in cybersecurity and to create partnerships with leading companies and academic partners to help find and validate the true efficacy of solutions for the many MISI customers. Armando also leads the development of conferences and training engagement designed to increase cyber awareness on trending or lesser known cyber challenges but to also increase the pipeline of ideas and skill needed to accelerate the cyber mission of the MISI customer base.

Armando leads the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) compliance and capabilities acceleration project sponsored by the Department of Defense (DoD). The project entails Armando's leadership of a team and its deep network of technology partners throughout the United States in the testing and evaluation of technology that can be used by the larger segment of the Defense Industrial Base (DIB) which consist of mostly small and medium sized businesses to get on the path towards compliance with the CMMC.

Armando has over 25 years of executive, management, sales, software engineering, network engineering, cyber analytic solutions development. Armando's prior experiences includes Vice President Business Development and Cyber Security for SSI Guardian a leading provider of security training, active shooter and cyber risk assessments and solutions for corporations, government and the education market.


Brig. General Yaron Rosen (Res.)
Brig. General (Res.) Yaron Rosen

Former Chief of Israel Defense Forces Cyber Staff, Co-founder & President of Toka

General Rosen served as an Air Force combat pilot with approx five thousand flight hours, recently completing over 32 years of distinguished service in the IDF.

General Rosen commanded various Air Force units, including an Apache squadron, and has extensive air operations experience, both from the cockpit and the joint operations staff level. In his last position in the Air Force, General Rosen served as Commander of the Joint Operations and Helicopter Division. As lead General officer in charge of all Air Force Joint Operations and lead helicopter pilot, he commanded operational concepts, force buildup, and human resource development.

In his last position in the IDF, General Rosen served as Chief of the IDF Cyber Staff, chief architect of all IDF cyber activities. In this position, General Rosen was the lead officer of the IDF cyber transformation project, responsible for force buildup and operational requirements, operational plans, and human resource development, working within an international network of practitioners, strategists and thought leaders, both at government and industry circles.

General Rosen is currently Co-founder & President at Toka, a first in kind national level Cyber Capacity Building Company. The company's mission is to enable governments & agencies to challenge conventions of Homeland-Security by designing groundbreaking cyber intelligence and operational capabilities. Toka works with governments globally to enhance cyber-capacities with decades of strategic and operational level knowledge, cutting-edge cyber intelligence products, and innovative cyber-operational projects.

General Rosen holds a master's degree in Strategic Studies from the United States Air Force University, a bachelor's degree in Economics from Bar-Ilan University, Magna Cum-Laude, and is a fellow-researcher and lecturer in Cyber and Air-Power studies at the Herzliya Interdisciplinary Center (IDC-ICT).

General Rosen is married to Inbal, is a proud father to four children ages 14-26, and volunteers as an active board member in the Air Force Center Foundation in Herzliya.

Lee Kappon
Lee Kappon

Lee Kappon is the CEO and Co-Founder of Suridata, a data security management company.

Suridata’s solution simulates human capabilities in reading text and understanding its meaning in order to discover the sensitive data and seamlessly apply accurate protection. This was achieved thanks to the Natural Language Processing (NLP) engine that was developed by the company with top researchers from the academy and with security experts.

Lee brings extensive management experience in both startup and corporate environments, with exposure to international markets. An entrepreneur and innovator at heart, she was listed in Forbes' 30 under 30 list. Lee has initiated and managed the development of innovative technological solutions for large companies. Lee holds an MBA from Tel-Aviv University and served as an officer in the Israeli Defense Forces.

Shay Michel
Shay Michel

Shay Michel is a General Partner at Merlin Ventures, where he leads the firm’s Israeli office. Shay is a serial entrepreneur who has founded 4 companies in the CDN and IT world, and for the last 5 years has been the managing partner of toDay Ventures, an Israeli seed-stage fund. In December 2020 he joined Merlin Ventures to stand up and run its efforts in Tel Aviv.

Shay has worked with startups like Cybereason, Aqua Security, Luminate and Fireblocks from their pre-seed stage to help them define their products and create initial MVPs.

At Merlin Ventures, Shay sources and leads deals in Israeli enterprise cybersecurity companies. Merlin Ventures then leverages parent company Merlin Cyber’s 25 year history of working with US Federal agencies and provides the resources and knowledge necessary to help accelerate portfolio companies growth into US public sector markets.

Elad Ben-Meir
Elad Ben-Meir

Elad Ben-Meir is the Chief Executive Officer of SCADAfence. SCADAfence develops OT and IoT cyber-security solutions and offers a full suite of industrial cyber-security products that provide full coverage of large-scale networks, network monitoring, asset discovery, governance, remote access, and IoT device security.

Elad brings 15 years of experience in various executive business roles. Prior to this role, Elad was the VP of Marketing and Strategic Accounts at CyberInt, a MDR provider focused on protecting digital businesses. Before that, Elad was the VP of Marketing and Products at indeni, a provider of knowledge driven solutions that simplify network management. Elad is a public speaker and an evangelist of new products and technologies in the cybersecurity and IT space and regularly advises to companies in the eco-system. Elad holds a BA in Computer Science & Economics from Tel Aviv College in Israel.

Liran Antebi
Liran Antebi

Liran Antebi is a research fellow at INSS, and manages the Advanced Technologies and National Security program, including the study of artificial intelligence and national security. She has managed the Technological Forecasting and Policy Implications research program, and was a Neubauer research associate in 2013-2014.

Dr. Antebi is also a lecturer at Ben Gurion University in the academic program of the Air Force academy, and at the Lauder School of Government, Diplomacy and Strategy at IDC Herzliya.

Previously, she served for several years as a member of iPRAW - the International Panel on the Regulation of Autonomous Weapons Systems, advising the UN. She holds a PhD. from Tel Aviv University, with her dissertation was on Robot Warriors in the Service of Democracy: The Impact of Military Robots on Democracies' Force Employment in Asymmetric Conflicts. Dr. Antebi is involved in several research areas within the field of national security and military affairs, including: advanced technologies such as drones, robots, artificial intelligence, and more; the implications of technology on security; military technology and the implications of its use; the impact of advanced technologies on policy, power, and the future of war; the Revolution in Military Affairs; states' confrontation with terrorism and guerrilla warfare, and the paradox of power.