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Copyright © 2019 The American Israel Public Affairs Committee

Homeland Security Monitor: July 2018

One year after Hurricane Harvey, Israeli groups continue to provide on-the-ground humanitarian assistance to natural disaster victims. (AP/David Phillip)

Israel-U.S. BIRD Foundation Finances Two Search-and-Rescue Joint Projects

On July 31, the Israel-U.S. Binational Industrial Research and Development (BIRD) Foundation announced its investment in two joint search-and-rescue projects, totaling $1 million each. The projects—a drone-mounted system and an emergency radio—were selected by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate and the Israeli Ministry of Public Security to develop new, advanced first responder technology. “Our partnership with Israel remains one of our most robust and has the strong support of leadership,” said Senior Official Performing the Duties of Under Secretary for Science and Technology for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security William Bryan. “It is important that Israel and U.S. work together in combating emerging threats.”

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Israel Electric Corp. Opens New Cybersecurity Center in New York

On July 19, Israel Electric Corp. (IEC) set up its first cybersecurity training facility in New York, to help U.S. companies and utilities respond to hacking attempts. The center is based on similar centers IEC has opened in Israel, Europe, Asia and Australia. The New York center utilizes cutting-edge technologies developed specifically to handle challenging cybersecurity situations and will involve exercises that replicate real-world conditions.

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Israelis Provide Humanitarian Assistance to Texas and the Caribbean One Year after Hurricanes

One year after Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Maria, José and Nate, Israeli organizations continue to provide on-the-ground assistance to help victims recover from the natural disasters. IsraAID and the Israel Trauma Coalition are two that are still operating in the hurricane-affected areas, continuing to help victims and readying residents for the next hurricane season. “We want to give community management teams more control after a storm by knowing where resources are needed and how to channel them in a cost-efficient way,” said Texas head of mission for IsraAID Niv Rabino, who has been in Houston since Hurricane Harvey.

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Israel Launches New Program to Bolster Cybersecurity Startups

On Aug. 15, Israel announced that it is investing $24 million to ensure Israel remains a world leader in cyber security. The three-year program will allow select companies working on high-risk research and development to receive up to 5 million shekels ($1.4 million) per year. The initiative will support select pilot programs in Israel and abroad. Israel has an estimated five percent of the global market share in cybersecurity, second only to the United States, and 16 percent of the global investments in the cyber industry.

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Tech Giants Target Accounts Linked to Iran

On Aug. 23, Google announced that it had terminated dozens of YouTube channels that were “pushing misinformation on behalf of Iran’s state broadcasting arm,” the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting, which has been under U.S. sanctions since 2013. This follows recent actions by Facebook and Twitter. A total of 652 Facebook pages and accounts were flagged for “coordinated inauthentic behavior” in the United States, Middle East, United Kingdom and Latin America. Twitter removed some 284 additional Iranian-linked accounts for “coordinated manipulation.” Lee Foster, a researcher from U.S.-based cybersecurity firm FireEye, which discovered the pages, said the pages sought to promote Iran’s interests, including anti-Israel and anti-Western themes.

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Type: Homeland Security Monitor