Anonymous heroes come out of the shadows
24 individuals behind technological developments crucial to country’s security receive Israel Defense Prize in Jerusalem.
Israel Defense Prize ceremony. Photo: Ariel Harmoni / GPO
For a moment they emerged from the shadows of anonymity to glory.
three men and one woman, whose ingenuity, determination and sense of mission
contributed to unprecedented breakthroughs in technological developments and
discoveries that have been crucial to Israel’s security, were awarded the Israel
Defense Prize during a ceremony at the President’s Residence on
Unlike other award ceremonies, where camera flashes pop as
honorees pose for photographs, the only cameras allowed into this ceremony were
This year, as in the preceding 54 years in which the
awards have been given, the names of the laureates, read out at the ceremony,
will not be published in any newspaper or on any website. This is because the
honorees are members of a secret army whose main goal is to develop new
technologies for Israel’s defense.
President Shimon Peres, Defense
Minister Ehud Barak, Defense Ministry director-general Udi Shani and former
Mossad chief Danny Yatom, who chaired the panel that determined which projects
were most deserving of the prize, commended the four teams of scientific and
technological experts made up of career officers, reserve officers and civilians
whom Barak referred to as “anonymous heroes.”
While lauding the strength
of Israel’s army, its ability to defend itself against all threats and its
advanced technological capability, none of the speakers made any direct
reference to Iran. The name was simply not mentioned. But there was a
“Israel is capable of blasting every threat from near and from
far,” said Peres, who advised Israel’s enemies not to make the mistake of
underestimating Israel’s capabilities – both those that are obvious and those
that are hidden.
Shani praised the laureates as the base for Israel’s
security and told them they brought great pride to the nation – even if it did
not know who they are.
Yatom said that throughout his years in the IDF
and Mossad he had seen some amazing technological developments, but nothing that
could compare with the projects that had been submitted for the
They were all important breakthroughs, he said, adding he had been
stunned by the creativity.
With the exception of the Iron Dome
anti-rocket defense system, none of the other projects could be even vaguely
discussed – other than to have each speaker repeat that they were of enormous
and unprecedented significance to Israel’s security.
Barak quoted Albert
Einstein, who said, “Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you
everywhere.” He also complimented the honorees for their courage in going
against the stream when others had given up.
A representative of the
laureates said that all the teams had worked like well-oiled machines and made
the impossible possible. They were all able to take a concept that had been
rejected as impossible and turn it into reality.
He also shared the
secret of success in almost any endeavor.
“Listen carefully to whoever
tells you why something can’t be done, and along the way you’ll learn how to do