Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced the creation of a National Center for Cyber Education to train young people in a sector he views as key.
The new facility will have a $6 million budget over the next five years, Netanyahu told students on Tuesday in Tel Aviv on the sidelines of the Cybertech 2017 international conference.
Its aim will be to “increase the number and raise the level of young Israelis for their future integration into the Israeli security services, industry and the academic world,” he said in a statement released by his office.
It will focus on “the development of programs and education for children, youth and graduates in the cyber sphere,” it added.
Israel is a world leader in cybersecurity with 65 startups created last year, according to a report by Start-Up Nation Central, a nonprofit organization in the Jewish state.
A record $581 million allocated last year — an increase of 9 percent over 2015 — put Israel second in the world after the United States for the volume of venture capital funds in the sector.
At the end of 2016, there were 365 companies specializing in cybersecurity in the country compared with 187 four years previously.
The rapidly increasing sector can be explained partly by ex-members of elite military intelligence groups such as Unit 8200 founding startups after their military service ends. Many former members of such units are also employed in existing firms specializing in cybersecurity, either inside Israel or abroad.
The country’s largest arms groups, including Israel Aerospace Industries, also have their own cyber units.