Israel has established itself as a world leader in cyber technology innovation, fueled by graduates of prestigious and secretive military and security intelligence units. These units are widely thought to be behind some of the world’s most advanced cyber-attacks, including the Stuxnet virus that attacked Iran’s nuclear energy equipment last decade.
Each year, these units churn out a talent pool of Israelis who translate their skills to the corporate world. Now Israel is looking to harness their technological prowess for the fight to protect Israel’s international image.
Vaknin-Gil said her ministry is encouraging initiatives to expose the funding and curb the activities of anti-Israel activists, as well as campaigns to “flood the Internet” with content that puts a positive face on Israel. She said some of these actions will not be publicly identified with the government, but that the ministry will not fund unethical or illegal digital initiatives.
Established about 10 years ago, the pro-Palestinian BDS campaign is a coalition of organizations that advocate boycotts, divestment and sanctions against Israel. Inspired by the anti-apartheid movement, BDS organizers say they are using nonviolent means to promote the Palestinian struggle for independence.
Israel says the movement is rooted in anti-Semitism and seeks not to change Israeli policies, but ultimately to put an end to the Jewish state.
The movement has grown into a global network of thousands of volunteers, from campus activists to church groups to liberal Jews disillusioned by Israeli policies. They lobby corporations, artists and academic institutions to sever ties with Israel.