On January 31, 2023 CyberTech Global conference took place in Tel Aviv, Israel, which is seen by many as a historic event. Dr. Yossi Vardi, one of Israel’s first high-tech entrepreneurs, introduced the panel titled “First of its kind discussion by cyber leaders from the USA, Israel, UAE, Bahrain and Morocco”, comprising Robert Silvers, Under Secretary for Policy, Department of Homeland Security (DHS), USA; Gaby Portnoy, Director General, Israel National Cyber Directorate (INCD), Israel; Dr. Mohamed Al Kuwaiti, Head of Cyber Security, United Arab Emirates Government, UAE; and Shaikh Salman bin Mohammed bin Abdulla Al Khalifa, CEO, National Cybersecurity Centre, Bahrain; and Brig. Gen. El Mostafa Rabii, Director General, DGSSI, Morocco.
The main themes were pooling their efforts, collaborating and integrating the region in order to move it forward to provide more stability and security but not just in the cyber world. If one were to summarize in one word what these distinguished gentlemen had to say, it is TRUST. You have to learn to trust not only one’s crazy creative out of the box ideas for cyber but more importantly to trust the people involved in this very special new and complicated relationship that the Abraham Accords has given us. As a psychoanalyst counter terrorist expert I was delighted to hear that this crucial element in cyber is valued and embraced – that is, our human relationships. I have argued elsewhere that AI will only be as good as those individuals and their group efforts developing AI and all its related aspects.
Indeed, it is remarkable that within the short time of constituting the Abraham Accords a panel such as this could be brought together, here in Tel Aviv. In addition, all the speakers touched on the importance of understanding culture. The Israelis admitted that we are known for being blunt which can be off putting to those who do not understand the culture.
During the panel it was noted by one of the Israeli speakers that Israel is seeking to train 20,000 high schoolers in cyber. That is an amazing goal yet this observer wondered if these kids will ever know the joy of roaming the library stacks at a university? Stumbling upon books that they never knew existed? Will they read the classics? Have the Liberal Arts and its Humanities fallen by the wayside? Questions posed but not yet answered. However, all panelists acknowledged the value of working together, that we are more alike than we are different and that the task at hand is to establish an integrated holistic Cyber Iron Dome to strengthen the region with the initial push coming from the Abraham Accords.
There were many interesting exhibits, a jampacked schedule of speakers and sessions but special shout outs are in order for making CyberTel Global Tel Aviv 2023 engaging: from conference organizer Adi Ari Ben Arush, to Yoel running the cloakroom (it’s been storming here in Tel Aviv) to participants such as Grace Ghunaim Magilatech Middle East Global Chief Strategy Officer; Laura Carpini, Italy’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs; the Canadian Patagona Technologies’ team Andrei Betlen and David Miller and Rona Amram VP People Mazebolt. No doubt that CyberTechGlobal Tel Aviv 2024 will create even more historic moments for security and prosperity.
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