I am the head of Israel’s National Program for Artificial Intelligence at the Israel Innovation Authority. I live in the Sharon region with my wife and three daughters and hold a PhD in artificial intelligence.

Coming from a technological background, I have spent most of my adult life in the private sector. I was the CTO of a large Israeli company that employed 1,500 people, responsible for generating a yearly revenue of about $370 million. 

The goal of Israel’s national program for AI is to maintain the country’s leadership in AI for many years to come. To achieve this, we facilitate and support the government’s efforts through funding, regulation, infrastructure, adoption of AI in the public sector, and creating the right atmosphere and environment for AI companies to prosper. 

As the leader of this effort, my role is to connect a multitude of entities (government academia, private sector), align the actions of different players, and ensure that things are done professionally, collaboratively and in an organized manner.

We need to start looking far ahead. It doesn’t come naturally to Israel, as we are more inclined toward trial and error, focusing on the present and dealing with mistakes as they come. However, it’s time we start focusing on the long term. 

We need to ensure that our economy is strong and our society is stable, regardless of political differences. We need a robust healthcare system, a strong education system and a thriving economy. We need to guarantee that our citizens can live prosperous lives. 

AI will play a significant role in achieving these goals.

The events of October 7th have highlighted the importance of developing talent within our community. At this moment, we acknowledge the importance of leveraging technology to drive impactful outcomes swiftly and efficiently. 

Manual processes alone are insufficient; therefore, the integration of advanced technologies, particularly AI, is paramount. The ability to process vast amounts of data in real-time, derive insights, and facilitate informed decision-making is indispensable.

“Innovation is crucial to our rebuilding efforts, as it enables us to create better services for all Israeli citizens.”

In light of recent events, such as the devastation to both military and civilian sectors, expediency in execution is crucial. Our approach involves accelerating existing initiatives, such as the expansion of our computing infrastructure and the facilitation of research scholarships, to expedite progress. 

Additionally, we have successfully collaborated with other countries on forming a regulatory regime for AI, demonstrating our commitment to proactive action in the face of challenges.

Amidst adversity, our focus remains resolute. We have identified Israel’s key strengths, particularly in technological innovation, and are exploring avenues to harness these strengths for the benefit of affected regions. 

This includes the establishment of innovation centers focused on areas such as construction and agriculture, aligning with the needs of the affected communities in the south.

I have always been an optimistic person, but it’s been hard to remain optimistic during the last few months. However, Israel is my home, where I grew up and where my family lives. This is where I am raising my children, and I want to see it flourish. Technology and society are two basic elements that can help it thrive. 

My main challenge before October 7th was to coordinate collaboration among the diverse entities within the Israeli government, spanning nine ministries and agencies, alongside academia and the high-tech sector. Aligning these stakeholders towards a common objective was a formidable task. After October 7th, the immediate focus shifted to addressing urgent and immediate needs. 

In our approach to rebuilding Israel, our first focus is fostering the next generation of scientists and nurturing the growth of startup companies. Innovation is crucial to our rebuilding efforts, as it enables us to create better services for all Israeli citizens.

Moreover, we are laying down the necessary infrastructure for the advancement of future technologies. AI is a cornerstone of this infrastructure, empowering the next phase of innovation and progress.

We understand the global landscape and are acutely aware of the intense competition surrounding AI. Countries across the world are striving for supremacy in this field, aiming to secure economic gains and societal benefits. 

Israelis recognize the urgency of this competition and the need to redouble our efforts to remain competitive. Failure to do so could result in a significant setback, relegating us from leading positions to mere mediocrity in the global rankings.

We are committed to working tirelessly, harnessing the power of innovation and technology to rebuild Israel and ensure our continued presence at the forefront of global progress.

I believe that most people, regardless of their beliefs, simply want to lead a peaceful life, raise their children, and enjoy their time. I hope that going forward, we can cultivate a greater sense of focus and unity. 

Difficult times have a way of clarifying what truly matters and bringing people together. We have seen this happen in powerful ways during this challenging period. My sincere hope is that the values of focus and unity that we develop during these times will last long after the immediate circumstances have passed, shaping our collective journey for years to come.