International conference in Tel Aviv draws thousands of participants from scores of countries
From state-of-the-art weaponry to cutting-edge computer technology, the future of the defense industry was on display in Israel this week. About 5,000 people from nearly 100 countries—spanning Canada and the United States to China and Japan—converged on the Tel Aviv Convention Center for a four-day international conference, where 175 exhibitors set up shop and dozens of speakers discussed the latest global threats.
Some of the most innovative companies in the world were represented at the summit, demonstrating their products and, of course, making contacts and sealing deals. Also taking part were many of Israel’s top tech entrepreneurs, who work hand-in-hand with public bodies to develop next-generation capabilities.
“We work very closely with private enterprises for two main reasons,” Yigal Unna, Director General of the Israel National Cyber Directorate, explained to The Media Line. “First, the government develops only limited tools and instead outsources these responsibilities. We want companies on the open market to develop solutions, as they are the best in the world at doing so.
“Second, we want to assist the Israeli economy, so we deal with many agencies and ministries to advance programs and remove obstacles that make it easier for businesses to achieve.”
This approach has contributed to Israel’s emergence as a pioneering power in defense, having exported $9.2 billion in related goods in 2017, a year-on-year increase of 40 percent.
And with annual worldwide defense spending expected to cross the $2 trillion threshold by 2022, enhancing cross-border cooperation with a view to developing external markets is becoming a major priority.
“The threat is, unfortunately, constant so there is a lot of need all over the world for homeland security and cyber solutions,” Lior Konitzki, Vice Director General of the Israel Export Institute, stressed to The Media Line. “Israel, in particular, has a lot of experience fighting terrorism over the last seventy years and preparing for cyber-crime during the past three decades.
“Because of the knowledge gained within the security establishment, within the army, within the emergency forces, along with a very strong academic environment, we see in Israel a battle-tested industry with added-value that keeps it ahead of its competitors. But we understand that we cannot do everything on our own, and this is why we are continuously looking to create partnerships.”
If the conference is any indication, this appears to be a two-way street, with eyes throughout the world looking to the Jewish state for answers to the most acute and hard-pressing defense issues of today, tomorrow and beyond.