Binational Industrial Research and Development Foundation (BIRD) issued its second annual call for proposals for its “NextGen First Responder Technologies” program. A total of $12 million in grants will be made available to fund joint U.S.-Israel research and development to advance emergency-services technologies. “This binational cooperation creates synergistic capabilities to handle emergency situations while using innovative technologies to save lives,” said BIRD Executive Director Eitan Yudilevich. “The program extends and enhances the successful collaboration that already exists between the U.S. and Israel in science and technology in the homeland-security sector.” The initiative is a joint effort of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate and Israel’s Ministry of Public Security.
Forty U.S. firefighters traveled to Israel this week to join emergency response efforts to combat the fires engulfing many communities in the country’s north. The firefighters, who will remain deployed alongside their Israeli counterparts for one week, are part of the Emergency Volunteer Project, a nonprofit organization
that brings together Israeli and U.S. emergency responders to train for such situations. Since 2009, the initiative has trained over 900 U.S. firefighters. “I think they are the greatest,” said Israeli firefighter Shiran Luzon of the U.S. volunteers. “We count on them and we rely on them, and treat them like our brothers. And I know that if they ever needed help, I would go help them also.” The assistance of the American firefighters follows the arrival
of a U.S. Boeing 747 supertanker, considered the largest firefighting aircraft in the world.
On Nov. 29, the U.S. House of Representatives passed two bills that would enhance U.S.-Israel cybersecurity cooperation between the Department of Homeland Security and Israel’s Ministry of Public Security. The United States-Israel Advanced Research Partnership Act of 2016 (H. R. 5877) and the United States-Israel Cybersecurity Cooperation Enhancement Act of 2016 (H.R. 5843)
were introduced by Reps. John Ratcliffe (R-TX) and Jim Langevin (D-RI). Inspired by a trip to Israel by the two legislators, the bills respectively amend previous legislation to extend U.S.-Israel homeland security research and antiterrorism programs to include cybersecurity, and propose a cybersecurity grant program at the Department of Homeland Security to promote joint U.S.-Israel research and development (R&D) projects. The bills cleared the House Homeland Security Committee in September. The passage of the legislation in the House demonstrates an overwhelming, bipartisan support for the expansion of U.S.-Israel partnership in the increasingly significant cybersecurity realm.
Nov. 15, Israeli Defense Ministry’s Export and International Cooperation Directorate (SIBAT) Director Ben Baruch announced an effort to enhance cyber-related trade with more than 20 targeted countries. According to Baruch, Israel’s Ministry of Defense plans to coordinate “a special effort to advance the exceptional capabilities of Israel’s cyber defense industries…The Israel defense industries have amazing capabilities in research and development and technology, some of which is traditional defense technologies being adapted for cyber.” The announcement follows the liberalizing of Israel’s export control policy on dual-use, cyber-related products earlier this year for all but military and defense end-users. In 2016, Israeli cyber exports could exceed the $5 billion mark, up from $4 billion in 2015.
Israeli company APERIO Systems has developed the first technology that can identify hackers’ attempts to manipulate data within critical infrastructure systems in real time. APERIO’s technological algorithms identify forged data within industrial systems, and revert it to its original state in real time. Through a combination of physics and state-of-the-art machine learning techniques, the technology ensures operational resilience in the face of attempted cyberattacks on industrial control systems. The company’s servers are already being used to protect gas pipelines in Israel, and are slated to be deployed in utility plants across Europe.
Laser Detect System (LDS) Ltd. unveiled a drone-based sensor capable of remotely detecting explosives, hazardous material and drugs. The company claims that the device can identify “explosives and other hazardous materials, in gas, liquid, powder or bulk form, at a distance of several meters from the threat.” LDS founder and president Eli Venezia said the company was “very excited to unveil this innovative solution for security and anti-terror applications at Israel’s HLS & Cyber [conference]. We are also encouraged by the great promise our technology offers for commercial applications.”