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Israel and the Cyber Threat: How the Startup Nation Became a Global Cyber Power

Chuck Freilich, Dov Waxman

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Professor Chuck Freilich will discuss the in-depth study he co-authored with Dr. Matthew S. Cohen and Professor Gabi Siboni, which details how Israel, the “startup nation," geared up to address the unprecedented cyber threat it faced—and still faces—and in the process became one of the world's top cyber powers.

Monday, May 8, 2023
11:30 AM - 12:30 PM (Pacific Time)
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After registering, you will be emailed a meeting link and ID information to join us virtually via Zoom on your computer, tablet or smartphone, or to call into the event on your phone. If you do not receive your email confirmation, check your spam or junk mail folders.

Note: This live event will be recorded and posted online afterward for later viewing on the Y&S Nazarian Center's multimedia page.

This event is organized by the UCLA Y&S Nazarian Center for Israel Studies and co-sponsored by the UCLA Political Science Department.

About the Book & Talk

Israel is subject to a nearly constant daily barrage of cyber attacks from Iran, Hezbollah, Hamas and beyond, at times even from close allies. Virtually every possible computer system in Israel, civil and military, has been targeted. A successful attack on Israel’s electric grid, or communications and transportation systems, could not only shut down the country, but expose it to severe military peril.

The book presents the cyber threat Israel faces, the governmental institutions it has established to cope with it, the remarkable cyber security industry it has developed, second only to the United States, and the educational system it has established, from elementary school through university, to train the highly skilled technological manpower needed. The book further addresses the threat on the military level and the role of cyber in Israel’s military strategy, including the famous “Stuxnet” cyber attack, conducted together with the US, which destroyed thousands of Iranian nuclear centrifuges without firing a shot. Israel and the Cyber Threat can be pre-ordered by clicking here.

 About the Author


Professor Chuck Freilich, a former deputy national security adviser in Israel and long-time senior fellow at Harvard's Belfer Center, teaches political science at Columbia, NYU and Tel Aviv universities. His primary areas of expertise are the Middle East, U.S.-Middle East policy, and Israeli national security policy. Dr. Freilich is the author of Zion’s Dilemmas: How Israel Makes National Security Policy (Cornell Press, 2012); Israeli National Security: A New Strategy for an Era of Change (Oxford Press, 2018); and Israel and the Cyber Threat: How the Startup Nation Became a Global Cyber Power (Oxford Press 2023). He has published numerous academic articles and over 150 op-eds, and appears frequently as a commentator on U.S., Israeli and international television and radio stations.

Freilich holds a Ph.D. and M. Phil in International Relations from Columbia University, and M.S. and B.A. degrees from Tel Aviv University and The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, respectively.


Prof. Dov Waxman (moderator) is the director of the UCLA Y&S Nazarian Center for Israel Studies. He is a Professor of Political Science and The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Foundation Chair of Israel Studies at UCLA. He has also been a visiting fellow at Tel Aviv University, Bar-Ilan University, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and Oxford University. Professor Waxman's research focuses on the conflict over Israel-Palestine, Israeli politics and foreign policy, U.S.-Israel relations, American Jewry’s relationship with Israel, Jewish politics, and anti-Semitism. He is the author of dozens of scholarly articles and four books, most recently The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: What Everyone Needs to Know (Oxford University Press, 2019). Professor Waxman received his Ph.D. and M.A. from the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University, and his B.A. degree from Oxford University.


DISCLAIMER: The views or opinions of our guest speakers and the content of their presentations do not necessarily reflect the views of the UCLA Younes and Soraya Nazarian Center for Israel Studies. Hosting speakers does not constitute an endorsement of the speaker's views or opinions.


Sponsor(s): Younes and Soraya Nazarian Center for Israel Studies, Political Science