'Beat the enemy to the mark and never look back' - Rivlin on Israel Defense Prize

The Israel Defense Prize for 2020 was presented to 3 outstanding projects.

Eitan Divinsky ,

Israel Defense Prize ceremony
Israel Defense Prize ceremony
Kobi Gideon, GPO

President of the State of Israel Reuven Rivlin, Minister of Defense and Alternate Prime Minister Benny Gantz, IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi and Director-General of the Ministry of Defense Maj.-Gen. (res.) Amir Eshel presented the Israel Defense Prize for 2020 in a festive ceremony at Beit HaNasi, the official residence of President Rivlin in Jerusalem, this evening, Sunday, September 13.

The prizes were granted to projects and activities that have contributed to national security and ensured Israel’s strength and qualitative advantage on the battle field, both in the technological and operational realms.

They were allotted to three outstanding projects from the Mossad, IDF, GSS, Ministry of Defense Directorate of Defense Research & Development, (DDR&D) and Israel Military Industries (IMI Systems).

Israel Defense Prize ceremony
Koby Gideon/GPO

The winning projects (in random order):

  • A project presented by the Mossad, Rafael, the IAF and the IDF Intelligence Branch’s central intelligence gathering unit. The project, which gives the IDF a unique capability, has allowed technological breakthroughs through the extraordinary vision, creativity and determination it embodies.
  • A project developed by IMI Systems, alongside the IAF, Ministry of Defense’s DDR&D, Rafael and Elbit Systems. The project was implemented with daring and determination, deals with unprecedented technological information gaps and markedly improves the IDF’s battle capabilities.
  • A project that was developed and implemented by the IDF Intelligence Branch with cooperation from the GSS. The project includes innovative developments in a range of fields and makes a significant contribution to national security.

· In addition, this year a lifetime achievement prize was awarded to "A" of the Mossad for many years of contribution to national security and for initiating many technological solutions that exhibited outstanding skill, creativity, curiosity and daring.

President of the State of Israel Reuven Rivlin said during the awards presentation:

“The winning projects are, in two words, Israeli chutzpah. It is not just the advanced capabilities, it is not just the out-of-the-box thinking, it is not just the teamwork – it is in essence to always, always get there before the enemy, and show him your heels."

"Even during the coronavirus pandemic, our enemies around the world are busy plotting against us. The State of Israel is strong, but as always, we must stand guard in defense of this little corner of the world. We will make sure, in every way, that those who try to harm us will not see the light of day, but spend their lives in fear and darkness."

“The peace agreement between Israel and the Emirates proved, once again, the far-sighted vision of the Iron Wall. Only determination, belief, technological and military might, alongside unity and stateliness, will allow us to build a strong Israel, with whom it is worthwhile and desirable to make an alliance, an alliance of peace.”

Israel Defense Prize ceremony
Koby Gideon/GPO

Minister of Defense Benny Gantz addressed the prize winners:

“I am proud of you, soldiers and members of the defense establishment and military industries working from the shadows. This prize conveys our appreciation for the innumerable moments of peace and quiet you have granted us over the years."

On the issue of the normalization agreements with Bahrain and the UAE, Gantz said, “I congratulate the prime minister who left this evening for Washington. With you, the men and women of the defense establishment, we will leverage the normalization and the relations with various countries in the region to create a front against shared threats. We will develop economic cooperation that will strengthen our national security and help Israel’s economy exit this crisis. And we will do all this while ensuring Israel’s security edge in the region.”

About the Israel Defense Prize

The Israel Defense Prize was the idea of Israel’s first prime minister and minister of defense David Ben-Gurion, who wanted to give expression to the contribution of research and development to Israel’s national security.

The prize is named for Eliahu Golomb Z"L, the uncrowned commander of the Hagana, which this year marks 100 years since its foundation.

Among the projects that have been awarded the Israel Defense Prize in the past are the Uzi and Galil assault rifles, the Kfir fighter plane, the Gabriel and Popeye missiles, the Merkava III tank, Rafael’s air-to-air missiles from the Shafrir in the 1960s to the Python 4 in the 1990s, the Arrow anti-missile missile, the Arrow 3 interceptor missile, Iron Dome, the Trophy active protection system that protects tanks, APCs and other armored vehicles from anti-tank fire, measures to detect offensive tunnels, the break-in to the Iranian nuclear archive and others.