Israel's top security prize awarded for three classified defense projects

The projects contributed to Israel's security and preserved its qualitative advantage on the battlefield.

President Reuven Rivlin sits alongside Defense Minister Benny Gantz and other representatives of the prize-winning agencies, September 13, 2020 (photo credit: DEFENSE MINISTRY)
President Reuven Rivlin sits alongside Defense Minister Benny Gantz and other representatives of the prize-winning agencies, September 13, 2020
(photo credit: DEFENSE MINISTRY)
The Mossad, the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency), the IDF and defense companies on Sunday received Israel’s top security prize for three classified defense projects.
The “projects and activities have contributed to the security of the country and the preservation of its strength and qualitative advantage on the battlefield, both in the technological aspect and in the operational aspect,” the Defense Ministry said in a statement.
The awards were presented in a ceremony at the President’s Residence. In attendance were President Reuven Rivlin, Defense Minister Benny Gantz, Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi, Defense Ministry director-general Maj.-Gen. (res.) Amir Eshel, Shin Bet Director Nadav Argaman, Mossad Director Yossi Cohen and former national security adviser Yaakov Amidror.
A senior Mossad officer, identified as Aleph, received a lifetime achievement award for his contribution to the security of the state and for developing many technological solutions.
Speaking at the ceremony, Rivlin said the award is given to those who have excelled and allow Israeli citizens to “sleep peacefully.”
“The winning projects are, in two words, Israeli chutzpah,” he said. “It is not just the advanced capabilities; it is not just the out-of-the-box thinking; it is not just the teamwork. It is in essence to always, always get there before the enemy and show him your heels.”
“Even during the coronavirus pandemic, our enemies around the world are plotting evil against us,” Rivlin said. “The State of Israel is strong. But as always, we are on guard to protect this little corner of God’s land. We will make sure, in every way, that those who want to harm us will not see the light of day and will have to live in hiding.”
Gantz praised the projects and those who were involved, saying: “I am proud of you, soldiers and the people of the defense establishment and military industries, who work in the shadows. This prize is our words of thanks and appreciation for the innumerable welcome silences you have granted us.”
Though the projects that won the prize remain classified, Israeli defense companies were involved in all of them.
One project led to the IDF gaining “specialized capabilities. A technological breakthrough was achieved, with outstanding vision, creativity and determination.” It was led by the Mossad, Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, the IAF and Military Intelligence Unit 9900.
Another winner was a project led by Israel Aerospace Industries, with assistance from the IAF, MAFAT (the Defense Ministry’s research-and-development department), Rafael and Elbit Systems.
“The project was carried out with utmost courage and determination, and it tackled unprecedented technological knowledge gaps, allowing for a great leap in IDF capabilities,” the ministry said.
The third project, carried out by the Shin Bet and Military Intelligence, “included innovative advancements in a number of areas and made a significant contribution to the security of the state,” the Defense Ministry said.
The award has been presented each year for more than 60 years to people and projects based on technological achievements that have made a significant contribution to the country’s security and provide unique operational responses.
It is named after Elijah Golomb, the commander of Israel’s pre-state Hagana militia.