Professor Isaac Ben-Israel

Israel Space Agency

Professor Isaac Ben-Israel joined the Israel Air Force (IAF) after graduating high school in 1967 and has served continuously up to his retirement in 2002.

Professor Ben-Israel received his PhD in 1988 from the Tel-Aviv University in Mathematics, Physics and Philosophy.

During his service, Professor 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 (IDF) 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 the Israel Defence Award twice.

After retirement from the IDF, Professor Ben-Israel joined the Tel Aviv University 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 (ICTAF) (2010-2013) 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 Headquarter in the PM Office. In 2014, he was appointed again by the PM to lead another task force which resulted in a government decision to set up a new National Cyber Authority.

In June 2018 he was appointed again by the Prime Minister to lead a National Task Force to formulate Israel national Artificial Intelligence policy, and to submit a national plan to the Government that will put Israel among the top 5 countries in the world in this field. He was the Chairman of Israel National R&D council in 2010-2016, and a member of Bank of Israel committee in charge of nominating Board members of Israeli Banks (2016-2018).

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