Isaac Ben-Israel

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Isaac Ben-Israel
Faction represented in the Knesset
Personal details
Born (1949-07-26) 26 July 1949 (age 71)
Tel Aviv, Israel

Isaac Ben-Israel (Hebrew: יצחק בן ישראל‎, born 26 July 1949) is an Israeli military scientist, general and ex-politician. He currently serves as the chairman of the Israeli Space Agency and the National Council for Research and Development, under the auspices of the Ministry of Science, Technology and Space of Israel. He finished his service in the IDF ranked General, serving as head of the military Administration for the Development of Weapons and the Technological Industry. Between 2010-2012 he served as chief Cybernetics adviser to PM Netanyahu, during which period he founded the National Cyber Bureau in the PM office and launched the National Cyber Initiative. Ben-Israel is now head of the Security Studies program in Tel Aviv University, where he also heads the annual international Cyber Security conference. Between 2007 and 2009 he served as a member of the Knesset for Kadima. Ben-Israel is one of Israel's top experts on Space, Cyber and technological related security. He holds a PhD in Philosophy and a BSc in Physics and Mathematics from Tel Aviv University.


Ben-Israel finished his studies at the Herzliya Hebrew High School in 1967, and was soon enlisted into the IDF as a prospective academic recruit. He studied Mathematics, Physics and Philosophy at Tel-Aviv University, earning a Ph.D. in 1988. His last position in the IDF was as the head of the Analysis and Assessment Division of the Israeli Air Force Air Intelligence Directorate's Operations Research Branch. From 2000-2002, he was a member of the board of directors of Israel Aircraft Industries. He is also a member of the board of the Israel Corp.; the research and development advisory board of Teva Pharmaceutical Industries; the Fisher Institute for Air and Space Strategic Studies; the advisory council of the Technion's Neaman Institute for Advanced Studies in Science and Technology; the academic council of Tel-Aviv Academic College of Engineering; the Interdisciplinary Center for Technological Analysis and forecasting (Tel-Aviv Univ.); and the National Committee for Information Society Technology. In 2003, he founded RAY-TOP (Technology Opportunities) Ltd., a Defense consultancy firm.

Support for the Nautilus MTHEL[edit]

Ben-Israel has been a staunch supporter of —and by extension, critic of the Israeli government's failure to continue to develop and implement after United States funding was withdrawn from— the Nautilus Mobile Tactical High Energy Laser (MTHEL) to serve as a central component of the Israeli Air Defense Network against high-trajectory attacks, such as by Katyusha and Qassam rockets from Southern Lebanon and the Palestinian territories, respectively. He reiterated these arguments during the 2006 Israel-Gaza conflict and the 2006 Israel-Lebanon conflict, and called for increasing the military budget of Israel with a focus on advanced technology, including reviving the MTHEL program.


In the 2006 Knesset elections, he was placed 31st on Kadima's list, but missed out on a seat when the party won only 29 mandates. However, after Shimon Peres resigned his seat in the Knesset to become President, Ben-Israel replaced him on 25 June 2007. He lost his seat in the February 2009 elections.


Ben-Israel has received numerous awards for his contributions to Israeli defense and intelligence doctrine. He is the author of Dialogues on Science and Defense (1989) and The Philosophy of Intelligence (1999).

  • 1972: The Israel Defense Prize — for developing a bombing system for the F-4 Phantom II
  • 1976: The Israeli Air Force Prize — for developing a computerized control and supervision system
  • 1984: The Head of the Intelligence Directorate Prize — "for "creative thought"
  • 1989: Itzhak-Sade Prize for Military Literature — for his book Dialogues on Science and Defense
  • 2001: The Israel Defense Prize — a second time, for developing weapon systems
  • 2002: The Singapore Defense Technology Distinguished Award — for "outstanding contribution to bilateral defense relations between Israel and Singapore for his contribution to Defense relations between Israel and Singapore"

Further reading[edit]

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