Major Cyber Security Center Launched at Tel Aviv University

The new Blavatnik Interdisciplinary Cyber Research Center will position TAU as the “go-to” place for cyber innovation and knowledge in Israel and the world
16 September 2014
Mr. Avi Fischer (center) accepts a certificate on behalf of Mr. Blavatnik, flanked by TAU President Joseph Klafter (left) and Prof. Isaac Ben-Israel.

Tel Aviv University’s new Blavatnik Interdisciplinary Cyber Research Center was launched in the presence of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during the Fourth Annual International Cyber Security Conference held by TAU. Mr. Netanyahu said the Center would be of great importance to the field of cyber security and the State of Israel. He noted that Israel is ranked among the top five in the field in the world.


The center was established to provide solutions to the growing threat in the cyber sphere on a national and international level and will collaborate with Israel’s National Cyber Bureau.


TAU President Joseph Klafter said, “Now, more than ever before, when Israel’s defensive strategies, including in the cybersphere, have been sorely tested, we need to nurture our best scientific talent, set up the most advanced labs, and strengthen the links between academia, government and business toward a unified front guard against cyber threats,” he said.


“Recognizing the vital importance of this area, international entrepreneur and philanthropist Len Blavatnik has established the Blavatnik Interdisciplinary Cyber Research Center here on campus,” said Prof. Klafter. “We would like to recognize Len, who is a TAU honorary doctor, for his passion for education and his support of excellence and innovation.” 


Pictured: TAU honorary doctor and governor Len Blavatnik.


Mr. Blavatnik’s representative, Mr. Avi Fischer, Chairman and CEO of Clal Industries and a TAU law graduate, former faculty member and Governor, accepted a certificate of recognition on Mr. Blavatnik’s behalf. The event marked the first formal project launch of the $20 million Blavatnik Initiative announced by the Blavatnik Family Foundation.  


The Blavatnik Cyber Center will draw on the University’s deep pool of scholars and experts to advance research and policy papers; disseminate findings among the highest echelons in government and defense; train a new generation of cyber scientists and analysts; expand cooperation between university and industry and educate the general public. The Center’s breakthroughs have attracted partners such as the US Air Force, NATO, top Israeli intelligence and defense agencies, Tata Industries, Broadcom and others.


On the policy front, the University’s Yuval Ne’eman Workshop for Science, Technology and Security, has been providing incisive reports to the prime minister, defense minister, IDF, chief of staff and many more decision makers and agencies for the past 12 years. In addition, the National Cyber Bureau in the Prime Minister’s Office selected TAU as the site of a National Cyber Center, and has committed major funding over the next five years toward this enterprise.


Household name in cyber circles


The International Cyber Conference has become a much-anticipated event and a household name in cyber circles. It attracts top experts from Israel and abroad, the broader academic community, dignitaries, professionals and representatives from industry, as well as the next generation of cyber innovators and entrepreneurs. In his opening remarks to the conference, TAU President Joseph Klafter noted that the participants come because of the “wide-ranging reputation and impact of the Yuval Ne’eman Workshop led by Major Gen. (Ret.) Prof. Ben-Israel and because of the broad interdisciplinary scope of the speakers and research projects presented.”


Pictured from left: TAU President Joseph Klafter, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Blavatnik Cyber Center Head Prof. Isaac Ben-Israel, and TAU Board of Governors Chairman Prof. Jacob A. Frenkel. 


Introductory greetings were also given by Chairman of the TAU Board of Governors Prof. Jacob A. Frenkel and Prof. Isaac Ben-Israel.


Keynote speaker General (Ret.) Keith Alexander, CEO and President, IronNet and former director of the National Security Agency (NSA) of the US, said that “cooperation was the key to cyber-security and that joint projects with business, academia and government are badly needed.”


Also participating in the conference were Minister of Defense Moshe Ya’alon;  Minister of Economy Naftali Bennett; Former President of Israel Shimon Peres; Chairman of the TAU Executive Council Giora Yaron; and Head of the National Cyber Bureau Dr. Eviatar Matania. 


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