We want your business!

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Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu ran through the nation’s commitment to cyber noting the country has 200x the next country in per capita revenue in the area. They are 20% of global cyber revenue. Very scary outlook for the capabilities that cyber can do if in the wrong hands. In closing though the Prime Minister said four words:

We want your business!

It would be nice to see the Aussie PM shout as loudly for investment at home.

Shimon Peres’ message to the world

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CM has been privy to meet Shimon Peres’ long time confidant Nadav Tamir. An unbelievably humble man who has probably met more foreign leaders than most statesmen.

Mr Tamir told  of what it was like to work alongside a man who did so much for peace. He believed in looking at the future and believed there was win win in every situation. He told the story of Peres talking ahead of a peace summit to the diplomats assembled that he’d pay $10 to everyone who won an arm wrestle with his opponent every time. After 10 minutes Peres said, “why didn’t you collaborate? If you let each other win and shared in the spoils you’d be much better off.” His idea was they should offer no resistance and swing their arms back and forth as fast as they could as a team.

Peres’ office is littered with Nobel prizes and probably nearly every highest state award from countries around the world. At 90yo a journalist asked Peres whether he felt old. He replied while holding his two hands pointing up,

”if you have achievements in this hand and dreams in the other and  you still have more dreams you are still young. I’m still young!”

It is hard not to come away utterly humbled by such a brave man.

The dogs of Cyber War

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At a cyber park in Israel, even dogs are seen as incubators of innovation. He roams the office and is seen as a valuable colleague. You can’t help but smile when you see him.

Honorable lies to defend the freedom we’re prepared to give up

In a world increasingly pushing for safe spaces, trigger warnings and legal remediation for hurt feelings, the ANZAC Memorial at Be’er Sheva makes a mockery of today’s society. Two gentlemen from the First World War make this point clearly. Both lied about their age to defend freedom. They weren’t alone.

The first soldier, H.T. Bell,  lied about his age so he could enlist, despite being only 14. He also lied about his name. He died as a light horseman in the Battle of Be’er Sheva where the ANZACs defeated the Turks by charging their cannons and machine guns. The authorities contacted the Wickhams (his alias) to inform their son he died only to discover they didn’t have one. They eventually tracked down the Bells who thought he’d run away to be a jackaroo. He was only 16.

Lt.Col L.C. Maygar VC was 48 at the time of the battle. Having won a Victoria Cross, the Empire’s highest order of valor, during the Boer War he was too old to serve in WW1. So he chopped his age by 6 years to make the cut. Sadly he died in battle but willingly volunteered to be put in harms way.

The actions of a youth and someone old enough to be his father fought for what they believed in. This battle was instrumental in booting the Ottoman Empire from what is now Israel. These soldiers tricked the Turks by charging them. Light horseman traditionally dismounted and then attacked on foot. Knowing their situation was bleak, 800 soldiers ran under the heavy guns effective line of fire and slaughtered the enemy.

When one absorbs the power of The Be’er Sheva memorial, it strongly reflects the values of the time. The sacrifices of the 1000s buried there reveal how seriously they were prepared to defend the very freedoms we seem so willingly prepared to give up today for the sake of political correctness.

Lest we forget their bravery.

Oi vey Australia! Time to develop innovation

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While the Australian school system seems obsessed dealing with LGBT awareness, gender fluidity and social causes, a day in the most up to date Israeli cyber park in the Negev Desert shows just how seriously the small nation deals with the real world and preparing future generations for it.

It should come as no surprise that Israel lives under constant threat. The Jewish State is happy to leave LBGT 20yr celebrations to rainbow flags on the beachfront in Tel Aviv. When it comes to education it is all about working kids hard to be competitive, hungry and innovative. Primary school students learn computer coding and mathematics. They don’t hold cross dressing presentations or participate in Family Day as a replacement for Mothers Day to show inclusiveness for minorities. Survival matters.

Those same primary schoolers learn even more skills when they hit high school. The government monitors 13yo kids for their cyber acumen to screen the best possible assets for the future. By 16yo the weeding out process is all but done.

The notorious IDF cyber unit 8200 is relocating to this cyber centre in Negev where over a dozen buildings are being erected to gather the finest innovators in the world. It’s a $50bn investment. Even the Israeli Defence Force standard cyber units will relocate there. As Israelis have compulsory military service from 18 years of age, the best and brightest get automatically assigned to these cyber teams.

The universities are collaborating with corporates and government. They work on real solutions that matter rather than shoot for research on questions nobody is asking. Companies like Intel are setting up R&D centres in Israel because the talent is there.

Australia may have a Department if Innovation & Science which has a billion dollar budget. The Israeli tech infrastructure organizers in places like the Negev encourage start ups. They award grants thru competitive processes based purely on merit. Instead of cutting grant cheques to all for participating in the Aussie “everyone wins a prize” mentality, the idea is that only the “best” idea out of 500 wins. The rest are forced to make more compelling arguments and work to secure alternative funding. That weeds out waste. If Australia just divvies out with fairness in mind, resources are misallocated and it is more likely the capital allocators are clueless.

The system is impressive beyond words. Listening to a dozen presenttions ranging across medical, cyber and agricultural fields, one cannot be thoroughly in awe of an early-thirties doctor from the neighboring university who has racked up 20+ patents for his inventions.

Then there is the tale of a 17yo intern who was given an asssignment to hack the vulnerability of a mobile phone manufacturer whose PR department lied through its back teeth to cover up a flaw in the system they boasted was secure. They cited the original hack wasn’t done over a secure VPN. In 3 days the 17yo kid hacked that too. Take about a face plant.

The same group told a large American corporate that it’s video streaming had a bug. Instead of admitting the lapse, the tech giant hunkered down and dug in its heels. They put a bandaid on it and were hacked again. They have managed to make a computer that is next to another but not connected in anyway, even via WiFi to make functions purely based on heat.

The answer is simple though. There are many cultural reasons why this type of education system works in Israel. While Australia has no hope of holding a candle to the Israelis there are huge lessons to be learnt about fostering a culture of individual excellence rather than move down the slippery slope that fails to prepare our kids for the future. It maybe too late.

What is a Shabbat elevator?

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What is a Shabbat elevtor? Who would want to use it?  Shabbat is the custom to take a day of rest from everything. A Shabbat elevator is one where none of the buttons work.

For example in a 10-story building, the lift operates between the basement and level 10, floor by floor, up and down. The direction is determined by the cycle. If you’re living on the 10th floor but the Shabbat elevator is on level 10 and you’re on G the lift will descend floor by floor, heading to the basement before doing the return journey. On the face of it the custom seems rather inconvenient. You might wait 24 floors of time to get home. The principle is that the Jewish day of rest is meant to be that, even something as innocuous as pressing a lift button is to be avoided.  It makes sense. Don’t think. Just ride and relax. Recharge

Many unplug the internet, turn off the power of their phone or computer to completely remove them from distracting influences that prevent them from complete personal reboot.