Israel’s Quantum Revolution

In 2019, Google announced that its quantum computer solved a problem in 200 seconds that would have taken a classical computer 10,000 years to solve. Now, the Israeli government is planning to build its own quantum computer, a project with far-reaching implications. David Isaac reports:

In response to what industry observers call the second quantum revolution, Israel announced on February 15 an ambitious goal of building its first quantum computer within a year.

The first quantum revolution led to inventions like the transistor, the laser, and the atomic clock, which [make possible] today’s information technology. The second is about controlling particles that show quantum effects, like photons and electrons. Although real-world applications are 10-to-30 years off, Israel, which punches above its weight in tech, doesn’t want to be left behind.

Moshe Goldstein, associate professor in the school of physics and astronomy at Tel Aviv University, explained that “Israel is a relative latecomer. We’re definitely not the first. . . . But everyone else in the world is not that ahead, so we still have a chance of catching up.”

Goldstein says that while Israel has announced an investment of 200 million shekels—or $62 million—that’s a fraction of what other governments have invested. China leads the world with $10 billion for quantum research. Germany dedicated $3.1 billion and France $2.2 billion. The United States in 2018 set aside $1.2 billion.

Read more at JNS

More about: Israeli economy, Israeli technology, Quantum mechanics


Why Hizballah Is Threatening Cyprus

In a speech last Wednesday, Hizballah’s secretary general Hassan Nasrallah not only declared that “nowhere will be safe” in Israel in the event of an all-out war, but also that his forces would attack the island nation of Cyprus. Hanin Ghaddar, Farzin Nadimi, and David Schenker observe that this is no idle threat, but one the Iran-backed terrorist group has “a range of options” for carrying out. They explain: 

Nasrallah’s threat to Cyprus was not random—the republic has long maintained close ties with Israel, much to Hizballah’s irritation. In recent years, the island has hosted multiple joint air-defense drills and annual special-forces exercises with Israel focused on potential threats from Hizballah and Iran.

Nasrallah’s threat should also be viewed in the context of wartime statements by Iran and its proxies about disrupting vital shipping lanes to Israel through the East Mediterranean.

This scenario should be particularly troubling to Washington given the large allied military presence in Cyprus, which includes a few thousand British troops, more than a hundred U.S. Air Force personnel, and a detachment of U-2 surveillance aircraft from the 1st Expeditionary Reconnaissance Squadron.

Yoni Ben Menachem suggests there is an additional aspect to Nasrallah’s designs on Cyprus, involving a plan

to neutralize the Israeli air force through two primary actions: a surprise attack with precision missiles and UAVs on Israeli air-force bases and against radar and air-defense facilities, including paralyzing Ben-Gurion Airport.

Nasrallah’s goal is to ground Israeli aircraft to prevent them from conducting missions in Lebanon against mid- and long-range missile launchers. Nasrallah fears that Israel might preempt his planned attack by deploying its air force to Cypriot bases, a scenario the Israeli air force practiced with Cyprus during military exercises over the past year.

Read more at Washington Institute for Near East Policy

More about: Cyprus, Hizballah, U.S. Security