CTech’s Weekly Roundup of Israeli Tech News

Israel blurs the line between defense apparatus and local cybersecurity hub. Israel to share new national health database with local tech industry

CTech 13:4730.03.18
Israel blurs the line between defense apparatus and local cybersecurity hub. Israel is siphoning cyber-related activities from its national defense apparatus to privately held companies. Since 2012, cyber-related and intelligence projects that were previously carried out in-house in the Israeli military and in Israel's main intelligence arms are transferred to companies that in some cases were built for this exact purpose. Some of these clandestine companies were established in collaboration with the Israeli defense organizations as a way to address the country's growing technological defense needs and a steep rise in salaries of cybersecurity engineers in the Israeli market. Read more


A Hospital in Israel (illustration). Photo: Yuval Chen A Hospital in Israel (illustration). Photo: Yuval Chen


Israel to share new national health database with local tech industry. On Sunday, the Israeli Government approved a national plan to promote digital health in the country, with a five year budget of $264 million. Some of the money would go to support collaborations between the Israeli healthcare system and local startups, which will develop technological solutions based on access to the databases of Israel's four health maintenance organizations. After raising privacy concerns among Israeli civil liberties advocates, Israeli Prime Minister and Health Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that the government will protect patients’ privacy with “Iron pinchers.” Read more


Spacecom’s new satellite contract ignites a ministerial tiff. On Sunday, the Israeli satellite operator announced it awarded a $112 million contract for the design and manufacture of its new satellite AMOS-8 to a U.S. company, instead of to Israeli government-owned IAI. Now, the Israeli Ministries of Finance and Science are attempting to shift responsibility for IAI’s failure to secure the coveted contract. Read more


Israeli rabbi says lab-grown pork meat is kosher. Modern Orthodox Rabbi Yuval Cherlow says existing kosher laws could not be applied to lab-grown meat, since, well, it was never alive. Abstinence from eating pork is a pinnacle of Jewish religious dietary laws, similar to Islamic Halal laws. Read more


While government hedges on export, investors light up Israeli cannabis stocks. Two companies listed on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange announced this week a pivot to marijuana. Amir Marketing and Investments in Agriculture, a company that deals in real estate and agriculture products, is one. The other is D Pharm, a shelf company that is hoping to merge with marijuana production startup UNV Medicine. Read more


Facebook privacy whistleblower names Black Cube in U.K. testimony. Christopher Wylie, the whistleblower accusing Facebook of a massive data breach, told the British parliament Tuesday that private intelligence firm Black Cube was hired to obtain compromising information on the president of Nigeria. Black Cube denied the allegation and vowed to seek legal action to correct Wylie’s act of “defamation.” Read more


Convicted Comverse CEO Kobi Alexander released from Israeli jail. Mr. Alexander, who was serving a prison sentence in the U.S. for fraud charges, was transferred to an Israeli prison earlier this month, where a third of his sentence was commuted for good behavior on Tuesday. Mr. Alexander was charged in the U.S. with fraud pertaining to the timing of Comverse stock option grants and sentenced by the Federal Court of New York in February 2017. Read more


U.S. court charges Israeli CEO with binary options fraud. On Thursday, the U.S. Department of Justice announced that Lee Elbaz, the CEO of Israel-based company Yokum Communications, was charged with alleged binary fraud in a Maryland district court. Israel has long been a major hub for companies dealing in binary options, though in October the Israeli parliament passed a bill that rendered offering such investments to foreign citizens illegal, effective January 2018. Ms. Elbaz was arrested by the FBI in September while on a private visit to the U.S. Read more


Israeli national carrier petitions against Air India’s direct flights to Tel Aviv through Saudi airspace. An Air India flight which landed in Tel Aviv last week was the first commercial flight to or from Israel to be allowed to fly over Saudi Arabia, which does not maintain official diplomatic ties with Israel. El Al petitioned the Israeli Supreme Court to prohibit Air India from using the route, as long as Israeli carriers are not allowed use it. Read more


Investigations against Netanyahu at the core of a $50 million Hollywood lawsuit. In a lawsuit filed earlier this month, Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan is accused of neglecting to promote a recent film, due to an ongoing legal investigation into charges concerning Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Read more

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