Mayor Rudy Giuliani with Greenberg Traurig Tel Aviv head Gary Epstein
Mayor Rudy Giuliani with Greenberg Traurig Tel Aviv head Gary EpsteinCourtesy

Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani believes an Israeli-American cyber security alliance would be unstoppable, and says Israeli resilience and security innovation has always been an inspiration to him.

Giuliani made the comments to Arutz Sheva during his current visit to Israel on behalf of global law firm Greenberg Traurig, which he recently joined as a partner. He now heads the company's cyber-security and crisis-management practice. Greenberg Traurig is the only global law firm with an office in Tel Aviv.

He is visiting Israel to promote cyber-security cooperation between Israel and other countries leading the field - or, in his words, "to make connections between Israeli companies that want to do business overseas... and to make connections between American and other foreign companies and Israeli companies.

"The more connections between our countries, the better off everyone is going to be."

Speaking to Arutz Sheva, Giuliani praised the State of Israel's "incredible" strides in cyber-security; in 2015 alone, a staggering 20% of the world's cyber-security investments were made in Israel.

The secret to Israel's success in cyber-security, says Giuliani, is the same thing which drives its wider, astonishing achievements in the field of "physical" security. "Necessity is the mother of invention," the former New York City Mayor said.

"Israel has always been at the cutting edge of security in general, so cyber-security is just another form of security, and I think Israel recognized that at an earlier stage than most, and because of its technological capabilities it has got off to a serious lead." 

Giuliani attributed much of that progress to the Israeli government's close attention to what is rapidly emerging as a new theater of warfare.

"I'm really impressed in way in which your government has organized to deal with cyber-security, by having an official government agency which focuses on that.

"We don't have that in the United States - we just rely on various individual agencies to do that."

Making cyber-security a key national strategic focus naturally buoyed the local industry itself, and placing responsibility under the Prime Minister's direct supervision "is tremendously important" as well.

"That model is something the world could gain from Israel," among other things, he said.

Israel, too, would stand to gain a great deal by expanding its cooperation with other countries - particularly the US, which is also a world leader in cyber-security. In particular, Giuliani cited the US's groundbreaking work on private identity protection.

"There are about eight other specific examples of important lessons we could learn from each other.

"The United States is also pretty advanced in this field, and I think if you put the US companies and Israeli companies together it would make quite a powerful combination."

Giulani said his own interest in cyber-security began some 13 years ago.

"It's because of my general focus on fighting crime... I realized that this is a rising form of crime, and we need to pay more attention to it.

"Also, after September 11, I realized that this is a vulnerability that can be taken advantage of by terrorists... the issue of cyber warfare," which today has been utilized by both state and non-state actors.

Giuliani, a longstanding supporter of Israel, also talked about his sense of solidarity with the Jewish state. He said he felt a very strong personal connection to Israel and its people, forged by the raw, often very difficult, realities he experienced firsthand.

"First of all, it comes from being here a lot and seeing what the country is like... Also, from being here at some of your worst moments," such as the funeral for assassinated Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, and during the bloody days of the Second Intifada. Giuliani said the Sbarro pizzeria massacre in particular was seared into his memory.

"It comes from going to the hospitals, visiting the kids there, and from seeing the resilience of the Israeli people."

"I have to tell you, I owe you, the State of Israel, a lot of gratitude," he continued. "A lot of how I motivated myself and the people of New York City after September 11 was to tell them that the people of Israel go through this more often than we do, and if they're able to go on with their daily lives then so should we."

Giuliani further cited the mutual interests and shared values of the State of Israel and the United States of America.

"We're two very similar governments with similar values and, the way I see the world, with the same enemies.

"Israel has always been a very good and loyal friend of the United States, and I want to make sure that the United States always remains a good and loyal friend of Israel."