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 of 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 (TAU) as a professor (2002). In 2003 he founded RAY-TOP (Technology Opportunities) Ltd, consulting governments and industries in technological and strategic issues. At TAU he was the Deputy Director of the Hartog School of Government and Policy (2005-2015), head of Curiel Centre for International Studies (2002-2004), Executive Director of the Interdisciplinary Centre for Technological Analysis & Forecasting (ICTAF) (2010-2013), a member of Jaffe Centre for Strategic Studies (2002-2004) and head of the Program for Security Studies (2004-2018). In 2002 he founded and headed the Yuval Ne’eman Workshop for Science, Technology and Security at Tel Aviv University. In 2014 he founded and became the Director of the Blavatnik interdisciplinary Cyber Research Center at Tel-Aviv University. 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).
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. Isaac Ben Israel was a member of the board of directors of IAI (2000-2002), the board of the Israel Corp. (2004-2007), the R&D advisory board of TEVA (2003-2007), Chairman of the Technion Entrepreneurial Incubator (2007), and member of the board of Fisher Institute for Air and Space Strategic Studies (2000-2018). Professor Ben-Israel 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). He was a member of the Advisory Board of Red Dot Fund (2017-2019) and Chairman of the Board of Bluechain Ventures Fund (2018-2019). In Singapore, Professor Ben-Israel founded and was CEO of RAY TOP Singapore Pte. Ltd. (2003-2022), member of the Board of Directors of Diamond Capital, Singapore (2012-2022) and Member of Singapore RIEC - Research, Innovation and Enterprise Council (2012-2022).

In 2010 he was appointed by the Prime Minister to lead a National Task Force that formulated Israel national Cyber policy. His recommendations, turned into a government formal plane in 2011, including the foundation of National Cyber Bureau in the PM Office. The cyber revolution initiated by him was the first in the world in which the practice of cyber was taken out of the hands of the intelligence-security sector and became a major issue in civilian life, including education, academic research, economics and the like. 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 National Cyber Authority. In June 2018 he was appointed by the Prime Minister to lead a National Task Force to formulate Israel national Artificial Intelligence (AI) policy and strategy, with the mission to strengthen Israel's scientific and technological resilience. around the concept of (AI). Following that he submitted to the government a Whole-of-Government national plan for Secured Intelligent Systems aimed to position Israel among the top 5 countries in the world in AI. Professor Ben Israel was for the last 17 years (2005-2022) the Chairman of Israel Space Agency.

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. His book on Cyber Security in Israel was published by Springer in 2015. His recent book is Does the World Really Exist? A Philosophical and Scientific Journey from Kant to the Quant (2022).

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

Current Positions

  • Professor Emeritus 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). Current Positions at Tel-Aviv University (TAU): Head of the Blavatnik Interdisciplinary Cyber Studies Centre (since 2014) and Head of the Yuval Ne’eman Workshop for Science, Technology and Security (since 2002).
  • Co-Director of the National AI Task Force (since 2018)
  • Member of the academic council of Afeka
  • Tel-Aviv Academic College of Engineering (since 2003).
  • Member of the committee for EMET Prime Minister Prize for Art, Science & Culture (since 2011)
  • Founder and CEO of RAY TOP Ltd. (since 2002).
  • Partner at Cyber Security Group (CSG) (since 2016) and The Floor Cyber (since 2018).
  • Member of the Board of SpaceIL Moonshot.
  • Chairman of the Board of Arma Ferrea & Arma Magna
  • Member of the Board of Advisors of Cyber 2.0 (since 2019)

Current Positions and Memberships abroad

  • Member of IAA – International Academy of Astronautics (since 2012).
  • Member of the Board of the Agency for Science, Technology & Research in Singapore - A*STAR (since 2010).
  • Commissioner at GCSC – Global commission on the Stability of Cyberspace (since 2017).

Prizes and Awards

  • 1972 - Israel Defence Award, for developing an airborne weapon delivery system for F-4E.
  • 1976 - Israel Air Force Award, for developing a C4 system.
  • 1984 - IDF Director of military Intelligence Prize for Creative Thinking.
  • 1990 - Itzhak-Sade Award for Military Literature, for the book Dialogues on Science and Military Intelligence.
  • 2001 - Israel Defence Award (Second time), for introducing the concept and developing an armed UAV.
  • 2002 - Singapore Defence Technology Distinguished Award for "outstanding contribution to bilateral defence relations between Israel and Singapore".
  • 2008 - Lions "Man of Excellence", for his contribution to Israel Security.
  • 2021 - IEEE TCHS Outstanding Leadership Award, for “outstanding leadership contributions to the homeland security community in general and to the field of cyber security and resilience in particular, through the promotion and applications of security and resilience concepts to a variety of technology, science, and business domains”.
  • 2022 - Rotary “Man of the Year”, for “his substaential and long ter contributaion in Security, Science,, Technology and Education”.
  • 2023 - Recipient of the Singapore Honorary Citizen Award, for his ongoing extensive and valuable services to Singapore and to the people of Singapore.
  • 2024 - IAF (International Astronautical Federation Distinguished Service Award, for outstanding contribution to Astronautics and advancement of the Federation