“Inbal Arieli is a serial entrepreneur and business executive, and a former elite military unit officer in the Israel Defense Forces’ Unit 8200 [Israel’s version of the NSA].”
“Ladies, help me out here please! I really couldn’t care less about watching China, the US scientific community, even Russian go down an empty rabbit hole (in fact quite the opposite!)… if an idea or a theory is fundamentally flawed, or damn right incorrect, from it’s very INCEPTION… everything that follows is bullshit.
100 years of Quantum BULLSHIT! It’s ALL been based on misinterpretation and outright scientific fraud.
I’m talking about the very fundamental building blocks of nature… of reality!
This will effect EVERYTHING… energy, atomic structure, the electron, genetics & DNA, biological molecules, chemistry, drug development & delivery, synthetic compounds, anti-gravity and propulsion, dark matter & dark energy… OUR UNDERSTANDING OF THE COSMOS!”
“For the first time in human history the power of the Sun has been brought down to the surface of planet Earth… the greatest discovery since fire”
A couple of months ago, tens of thousands of Israelis gathered for a euphoric concert in Tel Aviv’s main square to celebrate Netta Barzilai’s historic win at the Eurovision 2018 with her hit song “Toy”. Netta’s mesmerizing stage presence is due to her confidence, as much as to the lyrics of her song. “It’s an empowerment song for everybody”, she tells BBC, “for everybody who’s been struggling being themselves – struggling with their bosses, with the government, with someone stepping on them”.
As Israel is trying to figure out just how it’s going to fit 30,000 people into the 10,000-seat convention center in Tel Aviv during the 2019 Eurovision, we take a moment to look at Netta, as someone who admits to always having felt an outsider, and at what her achievement can teach us about the power of diversity and inclusion.
Netta spent her military service in the Israeli Navy Band, a unit which many young Israeli musicians and singers are fighting to get into each year. A band that does more than march to the sound of orchestrated percussion is perhaps not what one would expect to find in the military, but one that exists in the IDF nonetheless. On paper, the role of army bands is to orchestrate national ceremonies and military events. In reality, they are in charge of morale, particularly at times of military operations, during which they typically arrive at the field of combat to play for the fighting soldiers. Other than the fact that Israel’s greatest singers came out of these bands (Gidi Gov, Gali Atari, Dafna Armoni, Yosi Banai, Yardena Arazi, Yehoram Gaon, to mention a few), many of the country’s musical classics originated in bands like the legendary Cheezbatron. These songs are, to this day, an emblem associated with Israel’s greatest wars and battles, and serve as the soundtrack of all national ceremonies and events. The IDF also operates one of the most popular radio stations in Israel, Army Radio (Galei Tzahal), which provides young Israelis with a chance to gain experience in radio journalism, broadcasting, music, and every other aspect related to the operation of a radio station as part of their military service. The fact that artists like Netta can find a home in the army, the unlikeliest of places, is an important lesson in how talent and human capital can and should be applied to different, sometimes completely unexpected sectors of an organization.
Unfortunately, diversity is less widespread in the IDF than we’d like to admit. Although they’ve been serving in various positions in the IDF since its establishment in 1948, the number of women serving as administrative assistants has always been significantly higher than the number of those serving in combat roles, not to mention leadership positions. Israeli women are still struggling to qualify for combat units, for the Special Forces, to the navy, to the air force, and to other key roles.
Not serving in influential positions as men do puts women at a disadvantage when they enter the civilian job market. According to Israel Central Bureau of Statistics, as of 2017, the average income of women is 7,666 ILS, while men’s is 11,219, and of all the privately held businesses in the country only 26% are owned by women.
However, women are fighting for a change in every industry, from the IDF to the tech and business world, and it seems to be working. With the rapid spread of cyber threats, as well as growth in the tech industry, new positions in the IDF and in business organizations need to be filled. The pressing need for an additional pool of talent has opened the doors for different sectors of society, women included, to enter key positions. A case in point is a new program track that opened last September, the J6/C4I and Cyber Defense Directorate program, an all-female class of enlistees. Beyond the cheerful fact that the new track now trains women in a tech-related fields that were unavailable to them in both military and civilian life, it is also a unique way of dealing with a novel, national security problem.
Even more encouraging is the fact that, according to Israel Democracy Institute, since 2012, 92% of all IDF units are open to women, combat positions included. Between 2013 and 2017 the number of female combat fighters has grown by 350%, and there’s been a persistent decrease in the number of women serving as personal assistants and other less powerful positions. This increasing tendency towards diversifying the workforce is also taking over the business and tech world. One recent example comes from Intel Israel, which in 2018 alone recruited 800 women, 90% of which for tech positions.
Of course, the struggle for inclusion is not unique to Israel but is a global phenomenon. This is particularly true in the executive business world where women are somehow still a rarer breed. Only 11% of women in the U.S. are venture capitalists for example. Where they are found, women venture capitalists are already proving extremely beneficial as drivers of change, and as such, a positive disruptive force. To deal with the changes we are experiencing in all business sectors today there is need for such disruption, and there is no better way of disrupting the old than by diversifying.
Diversity hardly needs defending. The more diverse our set of experiences, the more open we are to innovation, the less prone we are to miss out on opportunities, and the more capable we are of solving problems. It is one of the only ways in which businesses can meet the unique needs of clients and investors, who might be coming from different sectors of society. Diversity encourages an open dialogue about differences and as such creates a greater ability to accept change. It goes way beyond gender. It is about strengthening our intellectual capital in order to propel creativity, innovation and new initiatives.
Whether it’s on the stage of the Eurovision contest, in the command center, or in the boardroom, diversity introduces a mixture of voices that would otherwise go unnoticed. Unless they opt for diversity, businesses, as much as military units and stage artists, are running the risk of not knowing their audience, rival, or customer.
Inbal Arieli is a serial entrepreneur and business executive, and a former elite military unit officer in the Israel Defense Forces’ Unit 8200 [Israel’s version of the NSA]. Currently, Arieli is CO-CEO of Synthesis, providing leadership assessment and agile people developmen… MORE
Inbal Arieli is CO-CEO of Synthesis, which provides leadership assessment and agile people development to businesses. She’s a former officer in Unit 8200 [Israel’s version of the NSA].
China and the US have made substantial investments and advancements in some area of quantum research.
Israel is aiming to ensure its military superiority with an investment in quantum technology.
The defense ministry announced a NIS 100 million investment in an innovative research fund focused on quantum computing.
First announced by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in May, the project is a collaboration between the Defense Ministry’s Administration for the Development of Weapons and Technological Infrastructure (MAFAT), the Higher Education Committee and the Israel Science Foundation, and will help enhance Israel’s intelligence gathering capacity.
“I welcome the establishment of the innovative research fund, which will continue to place Israel at the top of global technology and research,” Netanyahu said on Sunday. “From the cyber power to the quantum superpower, we will continue to lead significant breakthroughs for the State of Israel.”
A quantum computer works with particles that can be in superposition – two or more quantum states added together to become another one. Rather than representing bits, such particles would represent qubits, which can take on the value 0, or 1, or both simultaneously. This allows these computers to solve problems that current computers cannot, and could have important defense applications, such as allowing the military to break complex encryption and cryptographic codes used to protect military secrets.
“If you have a quantum computer, you could decipher encrypted messages,” Dr. Liat Maoz, a strategic consultant working with Israel’s Council for Higher Education, told The Jerusalem Post. “Most encryptions are very, very hard to decipher, but quantum computers would be able to decipher them much quicker.”
She said quantum communications would also allow for a completely secure communications line.
“Anyone who tries to eavesdrop on a call that is on a quantum communication line would be immediately discovered,” Maoz said.
Israel is not the first country to enter the quantum technology race.
“The global race is already underway and various countries are investing huge sums in developing the field – and if we do not run forward, the State of Israel will be left behind,” said Prof. Yaffa Zilbershatz, chairwoman of the Council for Higher Education’s Planning and Budgeting Committee.
China and the US have made substantial investments and advancements in some area of quantum research.
Last year, China announced that it would be building the world’s largest quantum research facility in the Hefei province. Costing over $10 billion, the 370,000 sq.m. laboratory is expected to be completed by 2020 and will see Chinese scientists work toward major advances in quantum technology in areas including computers, sensors and cryptography.
In the United States, the National Quantum Initiative Act proposes spending some $1.275 billion over five years to support research and development in the field, a substantial increase from the $200 million that the US has been spending on the topic until now.
Dr. Tamir Libel, a former research fellow at Institut Barcelona d’Estudis Internacionals, told the Post that the quantum race is one of “status or prestige between the major powers. If China invests a lot in exotic and emerging technology, that may have major implications for security – and the US, Europe and Israel cannot stay behind.”
He compared the quantum technology race to the space race between the Soviet Union and the United States, which was considered important because it showed the world which country had the best science, technology and economic systems.
“If China is moving forward, then none of the military leaders in the world can stay behind when it comes to military research and development,” Libel said.
He added that if one considers the investment made by the National Security Agency in collecting and encrypting certain types of technologies over the last 20 years, quantum computing would be a major benefit. Furthermore, it could significantly contribute to challenges of highly secure encryption for communication satellites. He explained that when operating in regions protected by GPS jammers, Scud missiles, for example, cannot receive GPS signals, precluding accurate timing for these missiles.
“Quantum computing could be used as an alternative method for synchronizing between systems,” said Libel. “Instead of relying on GPS signals for Scud or atomic missiles, you could use quantum computing to find accurate timing for the navigation system.”
According to a release by the Defense Ministry, Israel’s NIS 100 million has been allocated to the fund over five years.
“The aim of the program is to support outstanding research groups at Israeli universities that will engage in research and development in the field of science and quantum technology,” the statement read.
Some NIS 75 million will be used to award significant grants to researchers to finance research and purchase or upgrade equipment required for the research. The remainder of the amount will be directed to the development of the field according to the considerations of the Ministry’s Research and Development department.
MAFAT head Brig.-Gen. (res.) Dr. Danny Gold said on Sunday that “Israel knows how to provide creative solutions to the complex challenges facing the defense establishment.
“Israel, which has become a superpower in cyberspace, is looking at quantum as a strategic goal to become a major player in the global market,” he said.
Healthtech chiefs explain why Startup Nation can benefit from the push toward digitalized and personalized medicine that is changing the pharma landscape.
The shifting landscape of the global pharma industry, in which medicine is becoming more personalized as well as digitized, represents a huge opportunity for Israel, as the nation is a hotbed for life sciences research which can now be merged with the country’s strong digital technologies and machine learning prowess, industry leaders say in an interview.
“Israel is a treasure trove of innovation and talent across the entire continuum of the life and computer sciences,” said Iris Grossman, the chief Chief Scientific Officer of Cambridge, MA-based Camp4 Therapeutics, who was formerly in charge of setting up the personalized medicine unit of Israeli drugmaker Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd.
“There is a unique and tremendous opportunity to marry these two domains and spiral innovation in drug discovery and development that would disrupt R&D traditional approaches,” she said in an email interview with The Times of Israel.
The country that is known for its information technologies and cyber security prowess, is also home to more than 1,400 Israeli companies in the life sciences sphere.
These include 300 pharmaceutical companies, nearly 600 medical device companies, and 450 digital health companies that are working on developments in the field of neuroscience, oncology, immunology, and stem cell research, according to data provided by the Israel Innovation Authority, in charge of setting out the nation’s policies for its high-tech sector.
Not only that. The nation is home to a trove of detailed electronic medical data records, which put the country in a unique position to push forward with the digital transformation of healthcare. This push is being encouraged by the government, which in March set up a National Digital Health plan to create a digital database of the medical files of some 9 million residents, and make them available to researchers and enterprises.
Global healthcare expenditure is forecast to reach $9.5 trillion in 2018, according to World Health Organization data, and tech giants such as Apple Inc., Intel Corp, Facebook and IBM have all started investing in the field, according to New York based data firm CB Insights.
In September, Mazor Robotics Ltd., an Israeli biotech firm that develops robotic surgical systems, said it was being acquired by Irish-American medical device company Medtronic for a sum of $1.64 billion, the biggest-ever “exit” for an Israeli biotech company. While in August last year, US biopharmaceutical firm Gilead Sciences, Inc. said it had agreed to buy the Israeli-founded Kite Pharma for about $12 billion in an all-cash deal. The technology at the heart of Kite Pharma’s cell therapies was created by Prof. Zelig Eshhar from Israel’s Weizmann Institute of Science.
“Deep scientific understanding is the key to the development of personalized medicine,” said by email Gil Granot-Mayer, the CEO of Yeda Research and Development Co. Ltd, the technology transfer unit of the Weizmann Institute of Science, which commercializes technologies.
“Our ability to understand the personal drivers of diseases on a molecular level and to develop tools for diagnostic prevention and treatment are all based on that deep understanding and top-level capabilities.”
Israel has “wonderful innovation” in health technologies, Granot-Mayer said, but much of it is not developed. “If the ecosystem is not well developed, we will still face low chances of successful commercialization and value creation,” he said.
And here enters the non-profit organization, 8400 The Health Network, which aims to create just that ecosystem to help Israel attain its full potential in a field that could by far be one of its biggest growth engines going forward.
“Our vision is to use the country’s intellectual and digital assets and human capital to accelerate cures for critical global health challenges, while at the same time building a powerful growth engine for Israel,” said Dapha Murvitz, the CEO and a co-founder of the non-profit organization.
The 8400 network, founded in June 2017 by billionaire Marius Nacht, the co-founder of $17 billion cybersecurity firm Check Point Software Technologies Ltd. aims to gather the brightest brains at the intersection of health and technology to boost Israel’s position as a life sciences powerhouse. Murvitz co-founded the 8400 network together with Nacht and Yair Schindel.
The idea is to set up leadership programs to create a network of 400 people over eight years, hence the NGO’s name, 8400 (it also recalls the legendary elite 8200 army intelligence unit, which has spawned many of Israel’s tech entrepreneurs).
The 8400 network has already recruited its second cohort of 66 members for its leadership program, said Murvitz.
The cohort is made up of healthtech professionals, entrepreneurs and government officials, members of the academia and local hospitals and universities tech transfer divisions, who will join forces and brainstorm on projects to help promote the industry, and help address gaps in the ecosystem in areas such as regulation, funding and collaboration in big data.
“The only way to capitalize on the potential of our healthtech industry is through the coalescing of all of the different stakeholders across sectors and silos, so they can learn and create solutions together to overcome the hurdles,” said Murvitz.
The idea is to get these brains together and learn the best practices of life-sciences ecosystems around the world, and map out the bottlenecks, break down silos and remove hurdles that curb the growth of the ecosystem, she said.
The new cohort members who are joining the 8400 leadership program get to work together for 18 days over eight months – 12 of them in Israel and the remaining days at Harvard Business School, to take part in a senior executive leadership program, designed together also with the Mendham Investment Group in New Jersey.
They then join the 8400 network as active members to work toward a common goal.
“There is something about the Israeli mentality that allows innovative culture: the systems, organizations, are quiet open and flexible to changes,” said Dr Nathalie Bloch, who heads the newly set up ARC-Sheba Innovation Center at the Sheba Medical Center in Tel Aviv.
The Medical Center seeks to upgrade the hospital’s healthcare system by teaming up with, investing in and developing new technologies, with a focus mainly on digital health, and specifically on areas like precision medicine; big data and predictive analytics; telemedicine; and mobile health, she said in emailed comments to The Times of Israel.
Israel has many advantages over other countries, she said. “We have an ID number to every person and this ID is being used everywhere so one can really follow a continuation of care throughout the whole cycle.”
In addition, she said, “We have only four HMOs and there is a national healthcare law where it is mandatory to have healthcare coverage. This means we can know all the medical history of every person in Israel. This is a huge advantage when one wants to develop a comprehensive data warehouse and predictive models.”
Granot-Mayer, Bloch and Grossman are today all members of the 8400 network.
There are however many challenges ahead that stand in the way of Israel reaching its potential: startups at early stages of development still have a “huge problem” to get funding, said Granot-Mayer. The nation also needs to make sure it builds up a talent pool that has the ability to both create and lead the Israeli companies that stem out of these technologies.
Regulation can also be a huge stumbling block, said Sheba’s Bloch.
“The fact we need always to protect our patients makes things slow and convoluted,” she said. “Startup companies can’t wait too long — every day costs them money and they can ‘die’ by the time we get all the necessary approvals.”
Hospitals must also be provided with programs to help them change their business models to support them build the right infrastructure for data and analytic tools, while regulation, “which is quite behind” must be updated to allow hospitals to pilot new technologies and make use of cloud infrastructure, Bloch said.
“Strategic partnerships with large pharma and IT organizations; investment in infrastructure, education and disruptive regulatory innovation — are all important factors toward realizing” the dream of Israel leading the way in healthcare going forward, said Camp4’s Grossman. “Execution, though, requires dedication, passion and true collaboration across the board.”