Tel Aviv University’s Professor Isaac Ben-Israel to receive Distinguished Service Award

He is one of the key figures in the fields of space and cyber in Israel.

Professor Isaac Ben-Israel in 2008. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.
Professor Isaac Ben-Israel in 2008. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

The International Astronautical Federation (IAF) has announced that it will award its 2024 Distinguished Service Award to Professor Isaac Ben-Israel, head of the Blavatnik Interdisciplinary Cyber Research Center at Tel Aviv University (TAU) and former chairman of the Israel Space Agency, for his “outstanding contribution to astronautics (space sciences)” in general and “to the advancement of the International Astronautical Federation” in particular. He is the first Israeli to receive this honor.

Ben-Israel is one of the key figures in the fields of space and cyber in Israel. While serving in the Israeli Air Force, he studied mathematics, physics and philosophy, earning a doctorate from TAU. For his contribution to building the technological capacity of the Israel Defense Forces, he was awarded the Israel Defense Prize twice. Upon his retirement from the IDF, he joined the teaching staff of TAU.

In 2005, Ben-Israel was appointed chairman of the Israel Space Agency, and in 2007, he was elected to the Knesset as a member of the Kadima party. In 2011, he headed the National Cyber Initiative and founded the National Cyber Bureau within the prime minister’s office. In 2018, he was appointed (together with Professor Eviatar Matania from TAU) to head the National Initiative for Artificial Intelligence. From 2010 to 2017, he headed the National Council for Research and Development.

The professor is one of the founders of Israel’s civilian space program and the Israeli space industry, and strengthened their ties to the world through the IAF, a voluntary association of space agencies, space industries, research institutes and universities. Its members in Israel include the Association for Aerospace Sciences in Israel, the Israel Space Agency, the Israel Aerospace Industries and the Rafael Company. In 2012, Ben-Israel became a lifetime member of the Federation.

The Distinguished Service Award for 2024 will be awarded to Professor Ben-Israel in a ceremony that will be held at the Federation’s “Spring Meetings” in Paris.

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