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US, Israel to launch strategic dialogue aimed at boosting tech cooperation

After agreeing to set up initiative during Biden’s July visit to Israel, 1st meeting will take place Wednesday at White House with top officials from both sides attending

Jacob Magid is The Times of Israel's US correspondent

US President Joe Biden holds a joint press conference with Prime Minister Yair Lapid in Jerusalem, on July 14, 2022. (Emil Salman/ Pool)
US President Joe Biden holds a joint press conference with Prime Minister Yair Lapid in Jerusalem, on July 14, 2022. (Emil Salman/ Pool)

Israel and the US will launch a strategic dialogue aimed at boosting technological cooperation at the White House on Wednesday.

The initiative was first announced in the Jerusalem Declaration that US President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Yair Lapid signed during Biden’s visit to Israel in July.

In that statement, the two sides recognized the already-vast bilateral cooperation in science and technology and said the new strategic dialogue would bring those ties “to a new height.”

The collaboration will seek to “form a US-Israel technological partnership in critical and emerging technologies, as well as in areas of global concern: pandemic preparedness, climate change, artificial intelligence, and trusted technology,” the Jerusalem Declaration stated.

A separate joint statement by Lapid and Biden announcing the initiative in July saw the leaders “pledge to boost our mutual innovation ecosystems, to deepen bilateral engagements, advance and protect critical and emerging technologies in accordance with our national interests, democratic principles and human rights, and to address geostrategic challenges.”

The emphasis on human rights appeared noteworthy, given the Biden administration’s decision to blacklist Israeli spyware firm NSO Group last year over the reported sale of its technology to authoritarian regimes.

Those governments allegedly used the technology to target activists, political dissidents and journalists. Israel has since reportedly sought to lobby the Biden administration to withdraw NSO Group’s blacklist designation, to no avail.

Wednesday’s first session of the dialogue will be attended by Science and Innovation Minister Orit Farkash-Hacohen and National Security Council chairman Eyal Hulata on the Israeli side, with US Health and Human Services Deputy Secretary Andrea Palm and Deputy Energy Secretary David Turk on the US side. They will be accompanied by senior officials from other relevant government offices in Jerusalem and Washington.

“The goal of the meeting is to reach understandings and build mechanisms for concrete cooperation that will enable upgrading technological cooperation between the countries in the short term,” the Prime Minister’s Office said in a Tuesday statement. “This dialogue positions Israel alongside America’s leading strategic partners in technology.”

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