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Zev Chafets

Talking North Korea and Iran With Israel's Rocket Man

Yitzhak Ben-Israel thinks Kim's cyberwarriors are third-rate, U.S. missile defense is good, and the Iran deal is a keeper.
Photographer: Jack Guez/AFP/Getty Images

Success, it is said, has many fathers, and that is certainly the case of Israel’s astonishing achievements in the areas of missile defense and cybersecurity.

But if anyone is entitled to claim paternity, it is Isaac Ben-Israel. As a major general, he commanded the IDF unit in charge of military R&D and as the Director of Defense R&D in the Israeli Ministry of Defense, he oversaw the creation of Israel’s cutting edge anti-missile systems. As a civilian, he became the architect of Israel’s unique cyberdefense ecosystem. Today, at 68, he heads the department of security studies  at Tel Aviv University, chairs Israel’s Space Agency and its National Council for Research and Development and, in his spare time, writes influential books on high-tech military strategy and runs his own consultancy firm, RAY-TOP (Technology Opportunities) Ltd. He’s a busy man.