French Minister of State for the Digital Sector Sees Possibilities for Future Collaborations with BGU

Mounir Mahjoubi was the man who foiled an alleged Russian hacking attempt on the Macron campaign


French Minister of State for the Digital Sector Mr. Mounir Mahjoubi made his first visit to BGU last week, where he said he was already considering possibilities for future collaborations. Mahjoubi was briefed about BGU's cyber security and big data expertise.


Late in Emmanuel Macron's run for the French presidency, the campaign was the target of an alleged Russian hacking attempt. Mahjoubi, then in charge of the digital campaign, is credited with foiling the attack.


“We are here to discover and discuss. Digital is the key to Europe and a priority for our government," Minister Mahjoubi said at a meeting last Thursday in Beer-Sheva.


He said France needed to be protected to the highest level by experts and instill a culture of cyber security. It was not enough to create digital technologies and cyber security protections, he added, but, “How do you manage to diffuse it, to transfer technology to the public and the economy?"


“There are possibilities to discuss in the coming months," he added.


BGU's VP and Dean of R&D Prof. Dan Blumberg noted that BGU and Beer-Sheva were uniquely situated to achieve those goals.


In terms of cyber security research, “BGU is the leader in Israel and one of the leading nations in the Western world," Prof. Blumberg said, “BGU is training the next generation of students who will join the industry and we are building the infrastructure of the new economies."


BGU features multiple departments focusing on cyber security. Prof. Jihad El-Sana and Prof. Danny Hendler from the Department of Computer Science briefed Mahjoubi on the department's strengths in the field.


“Beer-Sheva has also been selected as the first smart city through the Digital Israel initiative," Blumberg told Mahjoubi.


Mahjoubi and Blumberg also discussed the lack of applicants in science and technology. They acknowledged that France and Israel were both facing a similar shortage and would need strategies to overcome the deficit.


After the meeting, Mahjoubi continued on to meeting at the Advanced Technologies Park adjacent to the University. The Park was established by the University and its partners with the aim of creating high tech jobs in the South.