Rep. Ratcliffe leads congressional visit to Israel
WASHINGTON – Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-Texas) led a Congressional delegation to Israel last week to discuss homeland security and cybersecurity issues with top officials, including Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israeli Minister of Defense Moshe Ya’alon. He was joined by Rep. Jim Langevin (D-R.I.), who sits with him on the House Homeland Security Committee.
“My meetings last week confirmed the importance of maintaining America’s unwavering support for Israel as our strongest ally in the Middle East. Israel, like the United States, knows far too well the threats posed by radial Islamist extremism, and it’s critical that we remain unified in our collective fight against terrorism,” Ratcliffe said.
The Iran nuclear deal was a top issue discussed throughout the trip, and Ratcliffe said he was reassured by Israeli officials’ steadfast opposition to the agreement.
“It was certainly a privilege to speak face-to-face with Prime Minister Netanyahu. He places national security ahead of politics and decisive action above political correctness. Prime Minister Netanyahu’s remarks also reinforced a concern I've raised in Congress that funds from sanctions relief in the nuclear deal could be used to bolster Iran's capabilities to launch increasingly sophisticated cyberattacks.”
Over the past five years, the cyber threat posed by Iran has grown significantly, and a recent cybersecurity hearing chaired by Ratcliffe identified the country as cyber actor of particularly malicious intent.
As the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Ratcliffe also led numerous cyber-specific meetings with Israeli government representatives and industry leaders.
Those in attendance included: Iddo Moed, head of Cyber at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Dr. Eviatar Matania, head of Israel’s National Cyber Bureau; Isaac Ben-Israel, head of the Israel Space Agency and security and diplomacy educator at Tel Aviv University; Citi’s Technology Innovation Lab; and Microsoft Israel.
“My talks with top Israeli cyber leaders helped shed light on the growing cyber threats– not just in Israel and the United States – but across the globe,” Ratcliffe said.
“We had productive discussions on best practices and strategic collaboration opportunities between our countries to combat cyber-attacks. Cybersecurity is national security, and I’m committed to continuing to be a leading voice in Congress on these important issues.”