Yuval Ne’eman Workshop for Science, Technology and Security was launched in 2002 by Prof. (Res. Major-General) Isaac Ben-Israel in conjunction with the Harold Hartog School of Policy and Government and the Security Studies Program at Tel Aviv University with the intention of exploring the links between science, technology and security. The Workshop conducts a broad range of research activities that include the publication of research papers and policy papers in the field of national security policy. Alongside its research activities, the Workshop also holds a popular series of monthly conferences at Tel Aviv University with the participation of members of the IDF and security organs, politicians, academia, and senior executives in leading Israeli and international companies. The purpose of the Workshop's activities is to create an open and fruitful dialogue with the general public in the fields of interest of the Workshop: cyber-security, space policy and security. Other topics covered by the Workshop include: international relations and strategy, missiles and guided weapons, robotics, the interplay between society and security, nuclear energy, homeland security, force build-up policy, government decision-making processes, and more. So far, the Workshop has held more than 75 conferences.
The crown jewel of the Workshops’ conferences is the Annual International Cybersecurity Conference. This conference is held every summer and enjoys the participation of senior politicians, foreign diplomats, academics, senior representatives of the IDF and other Israeli security services, and cyber-industry experts from around the world.
The Yuval Ne’eman Workshop has set as a goal for itself to advance awareness of cyber issues and the challenges that it presents to countries. The cyber domain, including the internet and social networks, have brought with them many opportunities and challenges, along with legal, ethical, and psychological dilemmas. These challenges and dilemmas are particularly relevant to politics and international relations as a result of their critical influence on the use of force. Thus, it is necessary to give these issues due consideration and seek effective methods of action, cooperation, international agreements, etc. In 2010, as part of understanding the need to direct national resources towards cyber security, the Prime Minister of Israel set up the National Cyber Initiative Taskforce with Prof. Ben Israel as its head. Ram Levi, a member of the Workshop, coordinated the work of the taskforce. The Taskforce's recommendations were accepted by the Prime Minister, and were approved in a government decision. As a result, the government voted to establish a National Cyber Directorate (NCD) to coordinate national cyber security activities, and to formulate cyber security policy.
In recent years, space has become a dominant factor in the national security resilience of countries. Countries in possession of space-based technologies enable military, economic and social advantages. These advantages can include broad views, improved intelligence-gathering capabilities, increased deterrence through technological means, reduced uncertainty, improved offensive and defensive capabilities, modern military standards, military superiority, developing an information-savvy society, international cooperation, and more. These advantages come to the fore in countries that posses space capabilities, and strengthen the national security of these countries, especially in the eyes of those around them. The Workshop advances work on space issues and points to the contributions of Israel’s independent space program to the country’s national security.
The Yuval Ne’eman Workshop has been conducting research on space security and space policy since 2005, and has even developed courses on these subjects which are taught as part of the Security Studies program. In 2009, at the initiative of President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a national taskforce was established to examine Israel’s space program, with strengthening the Israeli space industry as one of its key goals. The Taskforce was headed by Prof. Ben-Israel and the Director of the Ministry of Science, Mr. Menachem Greenbloom. The recommendations of the taskforce were received by the government in June of 2010, and following this a new national space program was inaugurated in 2012.