Could artificial intelligence become a new frontier for Israel's security?

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The events of October 7 exposed shocking flaws in Israel's security strategy and military preparedness, entangling us in a war that requires urgent attention. While addressing immediate threats is critical, we must take a broader perspective to ensure long-term security.

As a young soldier in the Golani Brigade, I found myself in a firefight in Lebanon with my commander, the legendary Brigadier General. Erez Gerstein, HY”D (“May Hashem avenge his blood”). Amid the chaos, I noticed that Erez was standing tall, observing the situation rather than taking cover or shooting. When the firing stopped, I asked him why he didn't take cover. His answer was profound: “If you're hiding or shooting, you can't understand what's going on around you. You have to stand above them all and look around you. I saw you take out the terrorists we had. I needed to know if there were more.”

Israel stands at a pivotal moment, facing a revolution that will shape our future as profoundly as any technological breakthrough of the past. The rise of artificial intelligence (AI) is not just a scientific and economic milestone. This is a matter of national security. To protect its position and ensure our continued prosperity, Israel must commit to significantly increasing our investments and priorities in AI.

The AI ​​revolution is unlike any other. It promises to touch every aspect of our lives, from personal services to national decision-making processes. Historically, technological leaders have enjoyed significant influence. Just as the nuclear arms race defined the 20th century, the AI ​​race will define the 21st century. Israel cannot afford to be left behind.

The impact of AI on national security cannot be overstated. In the coming years, there will be nations that will harness the full potential of AI and those that will not. The former will dominate global economic trends, security measures, influence and social structure. We must ensure that Israel is among the leaders. This means investing in supercomputing power, semiconductors, and human talent – ​​three key components of AI development.

Artificial Intelligence (Credit: INGIMAGE)

“AI: Israel's New Frontier for Security” is not just a phrase. This is a reality that we must embrace. Our nation has always thrived on innovation and resilience. Now, we must apply these powers to artificial intelligence. Israel has a solid foundation to build upon.

Our country is home to some of the world's brightest minds and cutting edge technology companies. However, we must significantly increase our efforts. The current strategy of the government is inadequate. We need a comprehensive, aggressive and well-funded national approach to secure our place at the forefront of this technological revolution.

The pace of AI in Israel

Consider the pace of AI development in Israel so far. We've seen Israeli startups enable AI to revolutionize cybersecurity, improve agricultural productivity, and detect disease more accurately than ever before. Despite these successes, our efforts are fragmented and underfunded.

To lead in AI, we need to upgrade our national strategy to include substantial funding, attractive tax incentives, acquisition of cutting-edge talent, and massive infrastructure development. That means attracting tens of billions of shekels of investment, building dedicated teams to bring the best minds back to Israel, and making sure they have the resources they need to thrive. We must also establish a strong data infrastructure.

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The billions earmarked for cloud projects like Nimbus are a start, but we need urgent and coordinated action to collect government data and make it accessible to AI development. Additionally, we should introduce significant tax benefits for AI companies that qualify as advanced enterprises, incorporate in Israel, and establish primary R&D centers here. For example, they can benefit from a lower corporate tax rate of 5% instead of the standard 23%.

The private sector must play its role. Companies specializing in AI for financial services have shown that AI can accelerate growth and increase efficiency, reduce fraud and improve customer experiences. In addition to enhancing security, attracting tens of billions in investment in AI will reduce the cost of living, streamline government operations, and accelerate economic growth. It will also increase our physical and economic security. As AI becomes an integral part of defense systems, healthcare, and critical infrastructure, AI leadership will ensure our security and prosperity.

The stakes are high. We cannot afford to be overwhelmed by war on our borders and miss the tectonic changes that AI is creating in the world. Our government should prioritize AI investment and tax incentives over other expenditures that do not yield comparable returns. We must recognize that AI is an inflationary technology. This will reduce costs and increase efficiency in all sectors, benefiting every Israeli.

In the 20th century, Israel's founder David Ben-Gurion recognized the critical importance of developing nuclear capabilities for national security. He gave the mission his personal attention, meeting with such well-known scientists as Ernst David Bergman, Chaim Weizmann, and Robert Oppenheimer. During his 1958 visit to America, he personally met with Abe Feinberg and members of the Sonny Born Institute to raise funds for construction of the Demona reactor. Just as Ben-Gurion boldly seized the nuclear opportunity, we must now seize the AI ​​opportunity.

A bold strategy to attract foreign investment and provide tax incentives is not the only option. It is a necessity. Our future security, economic stability and global influence depend on it. Now is the time for action. We must ensure that Israel remains a beacon of innovation and strength in tomorrow's AI-driven world.

The author is an Israeli businessman, thought leader, and activist.



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