Israeli President Isaac Herzog and Minister of Defense Yoav Gallant (Likud) awarded the 2023 Israel Defense Prize to four remarkable projects developed by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), the Israeli Security Agency (Shabak), the Mossad, and Israeli defense industries.
The awarded projects include a cutting-edge cyber defense system that ensures the IDF’s security and operational freedom in the digital domain, an intelligence system developed by Shabak and IDF Intelligence Corps, a joint technological initiative led by the Mossad and the IDF’s Unit 8200, and the groundbreaking advancement of a classified operational capability.
President Isaac Herzog, Minister of Defense Yoav Gallant, IDF Chief of General Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi and the Director General of the Israel Ministry of Defense, Maj. Gen. (Res.) Eyal Zamir, awarded the prestigious 2023 Israel Defense Prize on Wednesday to the four outstanding projects at a ceremony attended by the Shabak chief Ronen Bar, and Head of the Mossad, David Barnea. The ceremony was held at the President’s residence in Jerusalem. These projects have made significant contributions to the country’s security and have been instrumental in maintaining Israel’s technological and operational superiority on the battlefield.
Speaking at the ceremony, President Isaac Herzog said: “Officers, soldiers, and fellow citizens, the women and men of our esteemed defense establishment – your invaluable contributions to Israel’s national strength are truly remarkable. Through your accomplishments, inventions, developments, and outstanding achievements, the security of our beloved nation is safeguarded, ensuring our ability to defend ourselves independently.”
“It is thanks to these endeavors, and to each and every one of you, that we possess a country capable of confronting any threat, vanquishing any adversary, and deterring and overwhelming potential challenges. The projects celebrated today are truly awe-inspiring, revolutionary, and serve as a wellspring of inspiration. They transform seemingly impossible fantasies into tangible realities. The initiatives in which you participate often resemble works of science fiction, yet they exist within the realm of actuality. This is not the stuff of dreams; it is the embodiment of our real-life accomplishments!”
Minister of Defense Yoav Gallant said: “Today's ceremony and the four exceptional projects showcase the strength of our defense establishment's incredible human resources. Through endeavors such as these, we have already achieved the remarkable feat of saving lives and thwarting acts of terror. With ongoing initiatives in various stages of development, Israel consistently proves its ability to overcome evolving security challenges. These capabilities send a clear message to our adversaries that we are always prepared for any threat.”
Director General of the Israel Ministry of Defense, Maj. Gen. (Res.) Eyal Zamir said: “The Israel Defense Prize holds immense significance as the foremost and esteemed accolade, honoring the epitome of excellence. The awards presented today allow Israel’s defense bodies groundbreaking operational superiority in combat in the fields of intelligence, air, sea, and cyber. It is evident that in order to maintain our position at the forefront of technology, a substantial investment of resources is imperative. Therefore, we have made the decision to increase the Ministry of Defense’s research and development budget this year, setting a new record for direct investments, the highest ever recorded in research and development. This approach ensures not only the preservation of Israeli leadership in the region but its fortification as well.”
The winning projects are:
1. A unique cyber defense system developed by all branches of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) including the C4I and Cyber Defense Directorate, the Air Force, Intelligence Corps, and Navy. This groundbreaking system utilizes the world’s most advanced technologies to guarantee the IDF’s security and operational freedom in the digital domain, countering both existing and emerging cyber threats.
2. A joint ISA-IDF Unit 8200 project focusing on the development and implementation of a unique technological system that enables superior intelligence and security capabilities across various sectors. The cutting-edge system significantly enhances the intelligence community’s effectiveness in addressing security challenges.
3. A Mossad-IDF Unit 8200 collaboration that delivers a significant and distinctive strategic contribution to Israel’s security through technological innovation and groundbreaking operational prowess.
4. A joint venture of the IDF’s Intelligence Corps, Israeli Air Force, Israeli Navy, Israel Aerospace Industries, and Rafael Advanced Systems. The project is an extraordinary technological solution that has led to a breakthrough operational capability that directly reinforces the State of Israel’s qualitative advantage. The project integrates various innovative and unique technological developments driven by the visionary, determined, and creative contributions of all involved parties.
The members of the award committee include: Committee Chairman, Maj. Gen. (Res.) Udi Adam and Committee Secretary, Asher Wagner, and the members of the committee: Maj. Gen. (Res.) Roni Numa and Prof. Ofer Firstenberg from the Weizmann Institute.