Last week international computer hackers operating under the umbrella group Anonymous threatened to “erase Israel from the Internet” in a massive coordinated attack scheduled for today. By mid-morning Sunday, that attack had largely failed, and Israeli hackers had scored some blows of their own against the foreign assailants.
There was an increase in cyber attacks against Israeli government computer systems and the websites of local banks, as well as numerous smaller websites and networks. But nearly all of those attacks were repelled by Israel’s growing network of cyber defenses.
“There is hardly any real damage,” Yitzhak Ben Yisrael of Israel’s National Cyber Bureau told the Associated Press. “Anonymous doesn’t have the skills to damage the country’s vital infrastructure.”
A number of smaller Israeli websites were defaced temporarily, and in retaliation Israeli hackers defaced the websites of Islamist groups across the region.
More impressively, Israeli hackers penetrated the website associated with the Anonymous campaign against Israel — opisrael.com. Instead of reading about Anonymous’s anti-Israel views, those visiting opisrael.com on Sunday morning were presented with a pro-Israel banner and a long list of facts regarding the legitimacy of Israel and the history of the Jewish people.
The Israelis were operating under the newly formed banner of the Israeli Elite Strike Force.
(JTA) — Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer will make his third visit to Israel shortly after the launch of the Windows 8 operating system.
Ballmer’s visit in November will come after the Windows 8 system for PCs, laptops, and tablets is introduced on Oct. 26, and ahead of the launch in Israel of the Windows Phone 8 operating system for smartphones, the Israeli business daily Globes reported.
Ballmer will attend events organized by Microsoft Israel and its local development center in Israel. He also will meet with entrepreneurs and developers, as well as leaders of Israel’s economy.
Globes reported that the visit comes at a critical moment for Microsoft, as it must prove its relevance in the tablets and smartphones markets, and demonstrate the innovation of Windows 8 compared with Windows 7.
Ballmer’s second visit to the Jewish state was in 2008 to open Microsoft’s new research and development center in Herzliya Pituach. He first visited Israel in 2004.
“If you do the math, Microsoft is almost as much an Israeli company as it is an American company,” Ballmer said during the 2008 inauguration of the R&D center in Herzliya, according to the technology website The Inquirer.
Ballmer added, “Israel is an excellent example of the outstanding innovation Microsoft is developing globally. I predict that Israel’s importance to Microsoft as a center of innovation will grow significantly in the coming years.”
Microsoft has carried out nine acquisition deals in Israel. The latest was the intellectual property of 3DV Systems in 2009 for $35 million.
July 25, 2000, marked the beginning of the end of commercial high-speed supersonic flight – a method of airline travel that transported passengers between New York and Paris within just a few hours. On that date, an Air France Concorde supersonic plane caught fire, exploded, and crashed into a hotel, within minutes of takeoff. All passengers and crew on the flight were killed, as were some employees of the hotel, for a death toll of 113.
The reason for the crash? A 17-inch metal strip that fell off a plane that had taken off minutes before. Although the Concorde continued to fly for several years after the incident, the crash, along with other issues, took the wind out of the plane’s sails, and the Concorde — and commercial supersonic flight — was eventually scrapped.
If the idea of a tiny piece of metal taking down a hulking aircraft sounds ridiculous, you’re clearly not familiar with FOD (Foreign Object Debris), a problem that air travel authorities, like the Federal Aviation Authority, are very concerned about. Besides claiming lives, FOD incidents cost the airline industry an estimated $13 billion a year in repairs, delays, worker costs, and so on.
As a result, there has been a huge demand at airports around the world for FOD detection systems. Israel’s Xsight Systems’ FODetect is one of the leading providers of FOD detection systems, and is already installed in airports in the US, Europe, and Asia.
“Had the runway been inspected before the Concorde’s takeoff, the tragedy would have been avoided,” Oded Hanson, Xsight CTO and co-founder told The Times of Israel. “But with takeoffs at commercial airports coming within two minutes of each other, there would have been no way to find the fatal metal strip. Patrols on runways take place only several times a day, and the only way to find such debris is when workers or pilots observe them, which is very difficult to do when you’re driving a vehicle down the runway.”
In the Concorde incident, the plane, traveling at about 300 miles an hour, hit the strip, and a tire on the plane blew out. The blowout released pressure that caused debris to hit and eventually crack one of the plane’s fuel tanks. Tire blowouts on planes due to debris are far more common than most people realize, but there are many other foreign objects pilots have to worry about, from small animals that dart across the runway to birds that get sucked into engines – the cause of a recent near-tragedy in January 2009, avoided only because a skilled pilot was able to land US Airways Flight 1549 in the Hudson River.
FODetect uses hybrid radar and electro optical technology to detect junk on runways, with units installed with runway lights. That, said Hanson, is what separates Xsight’s system from the three others that are on the market for automated FOD detection. “The lights are already installed and there is an electrical infrastructure in place already. We add the FODetect sensors to the lights, with each sensor responsible for the area around it. When debris is detected, the control tower is alerted, and they can contact the pilots and hold up flights as necessary. And thanks to the installed GPS, they can tell ground crew exactly where the debris is located.”
Using runway lights makes more sense than setting up the numerous radar detection towers required by other systems on the market, Hanson said. “The maintenance is very easy, because it can be done along with the maintenance of the lights themselves, and the detection system is integrated with the existing airport infrastructure For the airport, maintaining our system is like changing a lightbulb.”
In addition, said Hanson, FODetect is the only system that lets control tower workers “see” what is actually happening on the runway. “They can’t see the runway from the tower, but with our system they are able to see and read exactly what is happening on the ground.”
FODetect has been installed at Logan Airport in Boston, Ben Gurion Airport, and Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport. The system is approved by the FAA, which wrote in a June 2012 report that “the FODetect system was able to detect the objects of various shapes, sizes, and materials on runway surfaces and perform satisfactorily in nighttime, daytime, sun, rain, mist, fog, and snow conditions.”
Hanson said that in the wake of the report, he expects many more airports in the US to order FODetect. “Even when it doesn’t cause damage, an FOD incident can cause significant delays, as ground crew have to search for the debris, delaying flights and increasing costs. FODetect offers airports a quick, efficient way to find and remove debris. The money they spend on the system is more than made up for in savings in preventing even one FOD incident.”
Computer animated designs are revealing the future silicon valley, this time on New York’s Roosevelt Island, and Israel is set to be a key partner. The Technion, also known as the Israel Institute of Technology in partnership with ivy-league University of Cornell, is now pushing forward its plans to build a two USD 350 million dollar campus in New York, as announced by New York mayor Michael Bloomberg back in December.
Jewish News One asked Israeli science and technology expert Iddo Genuth why he thinks Technion was chosen for the ambitious tech project. The futuristic high-tech university is already up and running in temporary facilities until the new facility is ready around 2018.
Israeli science and technology expert Iddo Genuth: “Israel is a startup nation with 120 Israeli companies appearing on the NASDAQ stock exchange, half of them created by Technion graduates. With 3 Nobel prize laureates in recent years and many groundbreaking innovations, the Technion is just what such a project requires.”
Israeli Prime Minister meets with Google Executive
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt
The Prime Minister gave Mr. Schmidt a doodle that he drew about Israel. The doodle shows the Israeli Flag, a person sitting in the sun enjoying himself, and quasi crystals discovered by Nobel laureate Dan Shechtman. Netanyahu said “This is Israel: science, sun, and Google.”
The Google Chairman praised Israel for the country’s creative contributions to technology. He gave the Prime Minister a digital scan of the Dead Sea Scrolls. The Prime Minister recounted how he took his first-grade son to read from the Dead Sea Scrolls. His son read from the Book of Isaiah, thousands of years after it was originally written.
Schmidt noted that an Israeli engineer created the database for organizing artifacts that is now used by museums worldwide. He described how Israelis have a unique blend of discipline, motivation, and creative thinking. Together these form a competitive advantage that is unlike any society in the world. Schmidt said, “The decision to invest in Israel was one of the best that Google has ever made.”
Brief Description of Video Above:
On June 19, 2012, the Israeli Prime Minister gave the Google Executive Chairman a Google doodle that he had drawn in accordance with suggestions he had received from websurfers in Israel. The drawing is composed of an Israeli flag, a man sitting under an umbrella in the sun, and the crystals discovered by the winner of this year’s Nobel Prize in Chemistry, Prof. Dan Shechtman, as a symbol of Israel’s standing at the forefront of science and technology. The Prime Minister said, “This is Israel — science, sun, and Google.” Schmidt said that Prime Minister Netanyahu was the first leader in the world to have drawn a doodle.
Google Executive Chairman Schmidt gave Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a framed picture of the Isaiah Scroll as a symbol of the Dead Sea Scrolls project that Google is leading in conjunction with the Israel Museum, in the framework of which the scrolls will be posted on the Internet. The project is part of Google’s decision to promote historical preservation and heritage on the Internet.
Prime Minister Netanyahu thanked Schmidt for the gift and said, regarding the Dead Sea Scrolls and the doodle, “This is the past and this is the future.”
Regarding historical preservation, Prime Minister Netanyahu called on Israelis to upload old clips to the Israel State Archives YouTube channel in order to preserve Israel’s national memories.
Google Executive Chairman Schmidt told the Prime Minister that even though this was his first visit to Israel, he sees it as a start-up nation and added that he believes that the fact citizens are drafted into the army gives them a great advantage as high-tech workers. He said that it was his impression that they are more mature, independent, and organized in comparison to other workers, and added that their good way of dealing with the competitive environment has led them to many achievements. Schmidt told the Prime Minister, “We appreciate that Israeli engineers, whose quality is very high, are developing things here that are being used all over the world.”
Prime Minister Netanyahu told Schmidt, “The more science penetrates to more places, the world will be a better place. We would like to see the Internet reaching places that restrict access, and your contribution on this issue is phenomenal.”
Google Executive Chairman Schmidt said, “The decision to invest in Israel was one of the best that Google has ever made.”
The two men also discussed cooperation between the State of Israel and Google in medicine, science, and defense against cyberattacks, as well as alternatives to oil that could render certain regimes less relevant.
The ‘Fortified hospital’ at Rambam Medical Center will ensure that thousands of patients can receive normal care even during abnormal times.
By David Shamah www.TimesofIsrael.com
October 2010 promotional video explaining the project:
The world’s largest and most advanced “fortified hospital” was unveiled in early June at Rambam Medical Center in Haifa. The 2,000-bed underground hospital is designed to keep patients and staff safe dozens of meters below ground even if missiles and rockets are falling above ground -– in case the city ever faces the kind of attack it did during the Second Lebanon War in 2006. It is also designed to keep out chemical or biological weapons.
Missile attacks by Hezbollah and Hamas were the impetus behind the construction of the Sammy Ofer Northern Regional Underground Emergency Hospital at the campus of Rambam. Over the past decade, missile attacks have devastated both the far north and south of Israel. During the war in 2006, and during “hot” periods over the past decade in southern Israel when Hamas terrorists have dispatched dozens of weapons a day against targets in the Negev, both Rambam and Barzilai Hospital in Ashkelon (where a similar, but smaller underground facility is under construction) were forced to move essential operations underground.
The new facility ensures that caregivers will have all the equipment and tools they need to continue caring for patients, and to deal with the influx of patients likely to need treatment in the event that the hospital goes “on line.”
A simulation of the ‘fortified hospital’ in action. (photo credit: Paul Mellling/RHCC)
In normal times, the three level underground structure will be used as a parking facility for up to 1,400 vehicles – itself an important addition to the congested Bat Galim neighborhood where the hospital is located. But built into the walls and floors of the facility are power outlets, connections, air conditioners and heaters, water and filtration systems, and everything else needed to move hospital operations underground. The conversion of the facility from parking lot to hospital will take less than 48 hours, hospital officials said.
Construction of the facility was a major technical and engineering challenge, the officials said. The facility is so deep underground that its lowest portion extends to several meters beneath the water table, and that required the pumping out of millions of liters of water.
When construction began in late 2010, the first stage was the pouring of 7,000 cubic meters of concrete to form the base of the facility – using much of the concrete available in northern and central Israel at the time, with no other concrete available for other projects for days before or after.
The facility’s sides and top are also protected by several meters of concrete, making it impervious to the shock of rocket attacks, and preventing entry of chemical or biological agents.
The hospital was inaugurated at a gala event earlier in the week attended, among others, by Deputy Health Minister Ya’akov Litzman, who described the difficulties in getting such a facility built during a period of government cutbacks – and the importance of continued investment in construction and development. “Over the past few years the government cut the Health Ministry’s budget by NIS 95 million,” Litzman said. “The easiest thing to cut from a budget is construction, but this facility shows how important it is not to cut back on construction.”
Much of the event was dedicated to thanking, and remembering, Sammy Ofer, the self-made Israeli multi-millionaire who passed away in 2011; Ofer donated nearly $20 million to build the facility. Litzman, along with the other speakers including Haifa Mayor Yona Yahav and Rambam Hospital CEO Professor Rafi Beyar, thanked the Ofer family, which was represented by Sammy Ofer’s children Eyal and Idan, and his wife, Aviva.
Aviva Ofer, wife of the late Sammy Ofer, flanked by their sons, Eyal (r) and Idan (l), cuts the ribbon at the Rambam event. Prof. Rafi Beyar, RHCC Director and CEO, looks on (far r). (photo credit: Paul Melling-RHCC)
“No man in Haifa’s history has done as much for the strategic development of Haifa as Sammy Ofer did,” Yahav said. “I was so happy that he was able to participate in the laying of the cornerstone for the hospital in 2008. Not everyone can take good intentions and turn them into reality, but Sammy did.”
Ofer, who lived in London for most of his life, grew up right near the hospital, “and he gave back in a big way. I hope we will never have to use this facility, although with the world the way it is today, who knows what will be,” Yahav added.
Eyal Ofer, the elder son, recalled his father’s life and legacy. “With his 10 fingers, he rose to international achievements, but like every true and veteran seaman, after sailing the world he came home,” Eyal Ofer said. “My brother and I grew up in Haifa and [our family has] remained faithful to Haifa.”
The event brought to a close the third international Rambam Summit, which featured dozens of speakers and workshops discussing various issues in medical and emergency care.
At the annual Arava Agricultural R&D exhibition – which took place earlier this month -visitors were wowed by new edible produce including a black tomato, rainbow colored carrots and red lemons.
Over 250 companies from Israel and around the world participated in the expo.
The new species of fruits and vegetables are set for export. And in addition to adding a splash of color to the salad bowl, the new produce reportedly packs more vitamins and antioxidants into its fruit/vegetable.
“Black Galaxy” tomato was developed by Technological Seeds DM. The company says that the color was derived from a pigment in blueberries and that the new species has higher concentrations of Vitamin C as found in regular tomatoes.
Among other new edible creations, the show featured the latest agro-tech developments including thermal plant imaging and a crop dusting robot.
Ambassador Daniel Shapiro and his wife Julie Fisher visited the Better Place Visitor’s Center on January 12. Their tour of the center was hosted by Mike Granoff, Better Place Chief of Oil Independence Policies, and Yariv Nornberg, Policy Manager. In addition to discussing the first deliveries of Better Place’s all-electric cars in Israel on January 22, the Ambassador discussed the Better Place plan for bringing an electric car network to Israel and similar plans for Australia and Denmark. Ambassador Shapiro and Mrs. Fisher concluded their visit with test drives of two Better Place vehicles
Kibbutz Sasa saves the lives of countless American troops with its advanced armor technologies. U.S. Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro saw this first hand on January 30 when he visited the Plasan factory in northern Galilee. The Ambassador saw the full range of products, from reactive armor, to purpose built vehicles, to body armor. Plasan has delivered more than 8,000 armor kits to U.S units on active duty.
Israel is a world leader in armor technology and the Ambassador expressed his gratitude for the dedication to quality expressed at Plasan.
Nestled in the forested hills of northern Israel, Kibbutz Sasa does more than just forge armor, they also forge connections. Their unique theater program called Bereshit l’Shalom brings young people together from all sectors of Israeli society. Jews, Arabs, Druze, or Circassian all use the art of theater and dance to express the importance of working across society’s boundaries to interact with others based on similarities, not differences. This successful program has performed throughout Israel and Europe.