The cybersecurity industry in Israel

The 4th International Conference on Homeland Security and Cyber1, held in Tel Aviv 14 – 17 November, was attended by government security agencies and enterprises from around the world, attracted by the Israeli military and security sector. Catalonia is no exception. Over recent months the Agency for Business Competitiveness of the Government of Catalonia, ACCIÓ, prepared a trade mission to promote Catalan participation in this conference2, with the aim of creating business and institutional cooperation in this field. According to ACCIÓ3 this trade mission is aligned with the strategic policy of the Government to boost the Catalan cybersecurity sector “as a dynamic economic sector with a very positive outlook”. Each of the eight Catalan companies and technology centres participating in this mission will receive or have already received financial support of €760.28 towards travel expenses. The Government of Israel is the main promoter of this conference, since this sector is key to the country’s economy. There are approximately 250 cybersecurity companies operating in Israel4, capturing $500 million during 2015 and over $200 million in the first two months of 20165. In 2014 worldwide sales of Israeli cyber companies amounted to $6 billion dollars. This figure represents approximately 10% of worldwide sales in the sector. It is estimated that there are 16,000 cybernetics professionals in Israel (entrepreneurs and staff), both in the defence sector and in the private sector. One of the keys to this international success is capacity for innovation, a comparative advantage based on the close relationship that exists between the military and technological security sector and Israeli armed forces. This system is fueled and justified by the maintenance of the occupation of Palestine and tensions with Lebanon, Syria and other Arab countries, together with the proliferation of nonstate armed groups in the region. The Occupied Palestinian Territories are a real laboratory for private corporations and research centres, including universities, for the army to try out new weapons and security technology systems and then launch them on the global market. The “Made in Israel” brand frequently boasts of this “tested in combat” experience, passing over the negative impact on civil society and systematic violations of human rights of Palestinian inhabitants. This document aims to identify the risks and potential violations of international law and human rights involved in investing in Israel through analysis of: 1) new global security policies; 2) European research in homeland security and Israeli participation; 3) relations between the
military and technological security sector and Israeli armed forces; 4) complicity with the occupation of Palestine; 5) recommendations for Catalan institutions and enterprises.

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