Israel developing national artificial intelligence strategy

By on 28/03/2022 | Updated on 28/03/2022
The Israeli Ministry of Finance's main office building in Jerusalem
The Israeli Ministry of Finance's main office building in Jerusalem. Photo credit: By Assaf Luxembourg - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

The government of Israel is to publish a national plan to strengthen the nation’s development of artificial intelligence.

The country’s finance ministry announced the development of the plan last week, and it is expected the plan itself will be published next month.

According to reports, the plan will include steps to promote AI in academia and research and development, as well as in the country’s high-profile tech industry. The strategy will aim to enhance Israel’s strength in the field, according to Israeli finance minister Avigdor Lieberman and innovation, science and technology minister Orit Farkash-Hacohen.

Israel was ranked 20th in a global government AI readiness index published by researchers Oxford Insights.

Read more: East Asian governments surge in AI readiness – see global rankings in full

“Taking part in the global development of AI is expected to reward the Israeli citizens in the long run,” Lieberman said.

“Investment in future development is expected to be a significant force multiplier in the future development of the Israeli economy,” he added.

Farkash-Hacohen added that AI will be the basis for the future of Israel’s science and hi-tech industries. “Its use has become critical in almost every field,” he said.

The strategy will update a national AI programme launched only in 2020. However, the implementation of this plan has been hindered by the lack of a state budget for three-and-a-half years, until one was struck in November. At the time of the publication of the first plan in 2020, Ami Appelbaum, the chief scientist and the chairman of the board of Israel Innovation Authority, told Israeli business publication Calcalist. “We are already running an AI program, but this isn’t the program that we planned and obviously there will be things that won’t be accomplished if there is no state budget. If this continues into 2021 we will have to figure out how much we want to allocate to AI. Clearly, it will be of a low and insufficient magnitude.”

The funding for the new plan has not yet been confirmed.

The creation of the strategy comes as more governments around the world look at how to develop and oversee artificial intelligence, with regulations under development in the European Union, China, UNited STates of America and the United Kingdom.

Read more: AI regulation is coming. Here’s how governments can get it right

About Richard Johnstone

Richard Johnstone is the executive editor of Global Government Forum, where he helps to produce editorial analysis and insight for the title’s audience of public servants around the world. Before joining GGF, he spent nearly five years at UK-based title Civil Service World, latterly as acting editor, and has worked in public policy journalism throughout his career.

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