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NYC Taxpayers Spending Millions on Cyber Center with Controversial Ties to Israeli Intelligence
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Early last week, the city of New York launched — with little media scrutiny — one of two new massive cybersecurity centers that will be run by private Israeli firms with close ties to Israel’s government, the so-called “Mega Group” tied to the Jeffrey Epstein scandal and prominent pro-Israel lobby organizations operating in the United States. The centers were first announced in 2018 as was the identity of the firms who would run them: Israel-based Jerusalem Venture Partners and SOSA.

As MintPress has reported on several occasions, all three of these entities have a history of aggressively spying on the U.S. federal government and/or blackmailing top American politicians, raising concerns regarding why these companies were chosen to run the new centers in the heart of Manhattan. The news also comes as Israeli cybersecurity companies tied to Israeli military intelligence Unit 8200 were revealed to have access to the U.S. government’s most classified systems and simulating the cancellation of the upcoming 2020 presidential election.

The new cybersecurity centers are part of a new New York City public-private partnership called “CyberNYC” that is valued at over $100 million and officially aims to “spur the creation of 10,000 cybersecurity jobs and make New York City a global leader in cyber innovation.” CyberNYC is an initiative of New York City’s Economic Development Corporation.

However, the companies that will be responsible for creating those cybersecurity jobs will benefit foreign companies, namely Israeli and most of the jobs to be created will go to foreigners as well, as media reports on the partnership have quietly noted. Those reports also stated that, while the stated purpose of the centers is to create new jobs, the Israeli firms chosen to run them — Jerusalem Venture Partners (JVP) and SOSA — view it as an opportunity to provide Israeli cybersecurity companies with a foothold into the American market and to see Israeli cybersecurity products adopted by both small and medium-sized American businesses, not just large corporations and government agencies.

For example, the founder of JVP and former Knesset member, Erel Margalit, told the Jerusalem Post that “the center we are setting up [in New York] will assist Israeli hi-tech companies in collaborating with customers and companies in the US and around the world.” More recently, ahead of the opening of the cybersecurity center that Margalit’s firm will manage, he told the Times of Israel that “New York is about something else, it’s about the drama of taking investors from Israel and Spain or Paris and other places and taking them to the next business level.” In other words, the companies set to benefit from these new centers will be foreign and mainly Israeli, as JVP invests the vast majority of its funds in Israeli start-ups.

Given that Wilson Lin, the head of CyberNYC, explained the reason behind the initiative as the fact that “there are not enough well-trained people in cyber security to fill the jobs that are required for a safer, more thriving commercial sector,” the statements of JVP’s founder strongly suggests that those “well-trained people” will not be Americans in New York, but will be brought in from abroad, namely Israel’s cybersecurity sector.

Of the companies chosen by CyberNYC to run its new cybersecurity centers, both have clear and demonstrable ties to Israel’s government and military intelligence as well as controversial groups of pro-Israel donors with considerable political clout in the United States.

For instance, Jerusalem Venture Partners was founded by Erel Margalit in 1993, with funding from the Yozma Program, an Israeli government program to “incentivize venture capital investment” in Israel. Since then, it has been a driving force in the development of Israel’s hi-tech sector and regularly collaborates with the Israeli Ministry of Economy and Industry and the EISP (Entrepreneurship and Innovation Support Program) alumni organization of Unit 8200. Today, it is the second largest venture capital fund in Israel.

JVP was also the sole venture capital fund chosen to partner with Israel’s government and military to establish the public-private “cyber hub” in Beersheba. This “hub” not only houses the IDF’s technology campus, but also the Israel National Cyber Directorate, which reports directly to Israel’s Prime Minister, as well as a high-tech corporate park that mostly houses tech companies with ties to Israel’s military intelligence apparatus. The area has been cited in several media reports as a visible indicator of the public-private merger between Israeli technology companies, many of them started by Unit 8200 alumni, and the Israeli government and its intelligence services.

A composite image of the future JVP-funded New York City cyber center. Photo | JVP Press Release
A composite image of the future JVP-funded New York City cyber center. Photo | JVP Press Release

In addition to JVP’s close ties to Israel’s government and its key role in the merging of Israel’s private cybersecurity sector with Israeli military intelligence, JVP also has close ties to the Bronfman family through its Chief Operating Officer and general partner, Fiona Darmon. Prior to working with JVP, Darmon worked for Claridge Israel, the investment arm of the Bronfman family that was founded by Charles Bronfman in 1987.

Charles Bronfman was a one-time business partner of Mossad agent Robert Maxwell, father of Jeffrey Epstein’s alleged madam Ghislaine Maxwell, and co-founded the “Mega Group”, a group of pro-Israel oligarchs with clear and direct ties to organized crime, alongside Leslie Wexner, the main financier of Jeffrey Epstein’s operation that involved the sex trafficking of minors on behalf of Israeli military intelligence.

SOSA was founded much more recently than JVP, yet also has close ties to Israel’s government and military. Created in 2014, SOSA has grown rapidly by connecting mostly Israeli start-ups with investors and through its partnerships with the IDF. This partnership first became clear in 2018, when SOSA created the Homeland Security (HLST) Innovation Hub, which the Times of Israel described as “a first of its kind program that aims to create a defense and security innovation community that will match homeland security and defense industry firms with startups, to help industry giants maintain their leading edge.”

Last year, SOSA became one of two companies to manage the Israeli Ministry of Defense’s program INNOFENSE, an innovation program for civilian tech start-ups in the country’s defense industry. SOSA’s collaboration with the IDF also involves the creation of “joint business activities between international companies, [government] security organizations, investors and startups,” making SOSA a key player in the blurring of the line between Israeli military intelligence and its private tech sector.

SOSA is also directly partnered with two of Israel’s top weapons manufacturers, Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, as well as defense electronics companies ELTA Systems and Elron Electronics, the former parent company of another Israeli weapons manufacturer Elbit Systems. It is also partnered with the Unit 8200 alumni-founded tech company CheckPoint Systems and Leumi Tech, the hi-tech subsidiary of one of Israel’s largest banks, Leumi. Leumi Tech exists only in the U.S. and specifically aims to “provide a comprehensive suite of products and services to Israeli high-tech companies operating in the US.” The bank was recently forced to pay $400 million to the U.S. government for assisting U.S. citizens, most of them dual U.S.-Israeli citizens, in preparing false tax returns and hiding their assets in offshore accounts.

SOSA’s General Manager Guy Franklin is of particular interest, due to his close ties to the Israeli American Council (IAC), a pro-Israel lobby group created by convicted felon and ultra-Zionist millionaire Adam Milstein and largely funded by Sheldon and Miriam Adelson. The Adelsons are also the largest donors to both President Trump and the Republican Party in the United States.

In this photo posted on SOSA’s Facebook page, SOSA execs Uzi Scheffer and Guy Franklin pose in New York’s Time Square
In this photo posted on SOSA’s Facebook page, SOSA execs Uzi Scheffer and Guy Franklin pose in New York’s Time Square

Of the $100 million in funding for the CyberNYC initiative, $30 million comes from New York taxpayers and the remaining funds coming from the program’s partners, which includes Goldman Sachs and the Israeli military intelligence Unit 8200 incubator Team8, a start-up accelerator which has been discussed at length in several past MintPress News reports, including the recent MintPress investigation into the Israeli company Cybereason — a partner of Team8.

Team8, particularly its presence in New York, has long been associated with the push by pro-Israel political donor and American hedge fund manager Paul Singer and Israel’s government to make Israel the global cybersecurity leader as a means of preventing countries from boycotting Israel over human rights violations and war crimes. Team8’s role in CyberNYC will see them not only finance part of the initiative but also training cybersecurity workers who will be hired as part of the partnership.

Singer, who is based in Manhattan, created Start Up Nation Central in 2012 to specifically outsource American tech jobs to Israel in collaboration with top AIPAC officials and Israel’s government. Meanwhile, in parallel, Israel’s government and intelligence apparatus began a policy that same year that involved outsourcing intelligence and military intelligence operations to private companies created for that very purpose, particularly in the field of cybersecurity.

Thus, much as Israel’s cybersecurity industry has long been fused to Israel’s military and intelligence apparati, the Paul Singer-funded and Israel-backed policy has openly sought to bring American companies and government agencies into the fold in order to prevent boycotts of Israel. Though the so-called “anti-BDS laws” that have been passed in several U.S. states are one facet of this push, the use of Israeli tech, namely cybersecurity, sector to pursue this same end has received decidedly less coverage.

New York City has long been a major focus on this policy, with the growth of Israel hi-tech start-ups present in New York and run by former members of Unit 8200 exploding since this policy officially began in 2012. Indeed, Haaretz noted that, between 2013 and 2017 alone, the number of Israeli tech start-ups in New York City grew by fivefold and the number of Unit 8200 alumni working in NYC tech start-ups has also spiked in that same time frame.

The number of Unit 8200 alumni working in NYC’s tech sector has grown so much that they host an annual gala closed to the press where the goal, per Haaretz, is “to try to connect startups and early stage entrepreneurs from 8200 EISP (the Israeli accelerator for Unit 8200 alumni) with clients and venture capital funds in the United States.” One of the main players at that gala is Guy Franklin, the CEO of SOSA, which was chosen to run the other NYC cybersecurity sector.

The decision to create expensive, new cybersecurity centers run by JVP and SOSA, two Israeli firms with clear ties to controversial pro-Israel lobby organization and donors as well as Israel’s government and intelligence apparatus, reveals that not only is this Singer and Israel-backed policy continuing to develop and expand at a rapid pace, but now the money of New York City taxpayers is now being used to propel it to new heights even though that very policy benefits Israel’s economy at the U.S.’ expense.

Whitney Webb is a MintPress News journalist based in Chile. She has contributed to several independent media outlets including Global Research, EcoWatch, the Ron Paul Institute and 21st Century Wire, among others. She has made several radio and television appearances and is the 2019 winner of the Serena Shim Award for Uncompromised Integrity in Journalism.

(Republished from MintPress News by permission of author or representative)
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Israel Lobby 
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  1. melpol says:

    Jewish smarts are being utilized by NYC to build a cutting age cyber security center. Now China will be checkmated when they attempt to hack American financial information. Jewish smarts should never be ignored as NYC needs a bulwark against the Oriental hacker. Cyber security is a Jewish thing and with the help of Israel no NYC data will be stolen by inquiring thieves.

    • Replies: @BDS Always
    , @showmethereal
  2. @melpol

    This has nothing to do with Chinese hackers or even Russians. It is about the collection of data on every person that will be stored on a world wide data base for use when they try to implement total global enslavement.
    We have in the UK the very same system in place linked to Israeli Intelligence which will no doubt be funded by the taxpayer.
    Another form of treason?

    • Replies: @melpol
  3. melpol says:
    @BDS Always

    Brokerage accounts on Wall Street and transfer of assets by Manhattan based Billionaires must be better monitored. Most of the worlds cash is located in NYC. China is hacking our data along with US intelligence agencies. But the job of hacking has become too complex for spies to handle. Cabals have come to the rescue and have clustered their smarts by building the NYC Cyber Security Center. Ownership and movement of every dollar will soon be known. Virus plagued China will be no match for the Cabal and its underlings.

    • Replies: @BDS Always
  4. Cking says:

    You’d think this article would describe the perfect reason and rationale for Homeland Security’s motto ‘If you see something, say something’. It’s absolutely intolerable, in the wake of 9/11, Israel is given free rein, to do whatever she feels like, actually conducting espionage on the American people. This is a national security crisis. Contact your political representatives. Contact the President.

  5. NYC needs a bulwark against the Oriental hacker

    China Is Spying On Israel to Steal U.S. Secrets

    Investigations by Israeli counterintelligence agencies discovered that Chinese hackers were particularly interested in the Israeli companies’ ties with U.S. defense contractors. … China perceives Israel as a back door through which it can access and penetrate secret U.S. programs.

    For many years, consecutive Israeli governments neglected and ignored the security risks posed by China. On the contrary, they encouraged Chinese businessmen to invest in Israel and purchase Israeli assets.

    Chinese construction companies are now enlarging Israel’s two major ports in Haifa and Ashdod, which handle most of Israel’s trade.

    Even more worrisome is the fact that Chinese companies have gained the concessions to operate and run the new harbors for 25 years. Both ports are also the bases for the Israeli navy, including heavily fortified marine infrastructure which houses the Israeli submarine fleet.

    U.S. President Donald Trump has declared a trade war on China and is trying to limit its economic and military expansion. One of the United States’ major concerns was Chinese involvement in the Haifa port, which is a host to frequent visits by the ships of the U.S. Sixth Fleet, including aircraft carriers.

    That’s why Chinese involvement in Israel got Washington’s attention. The Trump administration asked Israel to reduce its ties with China, and U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton directly requested it. Israel doesn’t want to insult or humiliate China, which is sensitive in terms of its pride and would undoubtedly retaliate.

    • Replies: @showmethereal
  6. Whitney Webb has done some very nice open-source research on Epstein’s organizational backing. The only problem is, it muddled up a lot of associations into a diffuse criminal milieu without mentioning CIA’s longstanding practice of getting cutouts from organized crime.

    Interestingly, when Whitney posted an article on Mossad torture, a comment on its tight links to CIA torture procedures went down the memory hole. Multiple times.

    Now Hopsicker, a honnête homme, convincingly ties Whitney Webb to CIA.

    So our rebuttable presumption is that Margalit et al. are CIA cutouts for illegal domestic surveillance, just as Ghislaine was CIA’s cutout for pedo kompromat of VIPs. And Whitney Webb is here to obfuscate that.

    So, Whitney. Let’s talk turkey. What do you hear about Josh Schulte? Poor bastard got picked as the poster boy for insider threats to terrify the minimally educated rank and file. The chairborne rangers at Langley know who really pantsed them with Vault 7 & 8… don’t they?

    • Replies: @Morton's toes
  7. @melpol

    LOL… Did you know Israel was one of the main players in helping China’s military modernize (covertly)…? In fact – there is even a book written about how helping China (against US wishes) is what helped turn Israel into an arms exporter. If you go to Israel today – many of their largest infrastructure projects (roads – trains – ports) are being built by Chinese companies – against US wishes. A lot of venture capital for Israeli tech firms now is from China. Vice Versa – Israel’s largest tech school – Technion of Israel – who ironically will be participating in Cyber NYC – as they have a new campus in NYC in connection with Cornell University… I say it is ironic because they now have another school overseas – which is twice as large as the NYC school. Do you know where it is??? Shantou – Guangdong Province of China.

    Israel is very very pragmatic. They wisely aren’t siding with the US against China. They remember in WW2 when Jewish refugees were refused entry into the US – the Chinese people in Shanghai treated them well – even though they themselves were under Japanese occupation at the time. In fact it made many of them empathetic to the Chinese to see how they were treated by Japan. Then again – even Nazi’s who witnessed the Nanjing Massacre wrote back to Germany about how brutally Japanese treated the Chinese – but I digress..

    • Replies: @melpol
  8. @Hippopotamusdrome

    In reality they didn’t neglect nor ignore…. The spying goes both ways… All who are involved know that. And Israel has to look out for itself first… Like every other nation.

  9. @melpol

    Another example of a system rolled out to protect our freedom, save us, stop the bad guys, protect us etc, but as we know it is put in place to do the complete opposite.

    • Replies: @melpol
  10. melpol says:

    Some call Israel the 51st state which is not far from the truth. Their bonds are unshakeable due to their relationship in values and defense. Some high-tech products exported to China by Israel were not against US wishes. That data is highly classified. World Jewry owes its first allegiance to the USA and Israel second. English is a Jews first language. The American flag is displayed in every Synagogue. Jews had a prime part in creating the great American consumer. Jewish created wealth is everywhere.

    • Replies: @showmethereal
  11. melpol says:
    @BDS Always

    No government can survive without the collection of taxes. The NYC collection center will help monitor the flow of money. It will make tax evasion more difficult. Fifty thousand dollars moved to a sisters account without payment of a gift tax now will be spotted. It is estimated that over a trillion dollars should have been collected in unpaid taxes. No longer will Uncle Sam be deprived of his due. Thanks to the NYC tax fraud prevention center all taxes will be paid.

    • Replies: @Paul C.
  12. Spylock says:

    melpol’s too green to jazz up his script from Petah Tikva, that’s why it sounds so lame and spergy. melpol’s a Jew who’s too dumb to code or even rip off geezers on Wall Street, so he got the unenviable low-paid shit job of explaining that CIA breaks every money-laundering rule in the book, so you have to fill out a million forms for crooked Jew-state Jews.

    • Replies: @Hibernian
  13. Hibernian says:

    He’s a lot like Tiny Duck.

  14. Paul C. says:

    No government can survive without the collection of taxes.

    America was the wealthiest nation in the world, without having an income tax. Enter the Federal Reserve and IRS in 1913. The country was bankrupted in only 20 years (1933). Imagine that, going from the wealthiest to bankrupt.

    Taxes go to the criminal bankers. This is why an income tax was introduced alongside the central bank (Fed). This is not unique to the US. The US is being run by criminals, who happen to be zionist, which explains why Israel can do whatever it pleases.

    • Agree: anarchyst
    • Replies: @showmethereal
  15. @Paul C.

    what is your calculation for the richest nation before income tax?

  16. @melpol

    Oh – you are one of those….?? Never mind.

  17. Who is the author, Whitney Webb?

    The following statements are based on the article “Paint It Mint” by Daniel Hopsicker.  Hopsicker gleaned the alleged facts from the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, the MinnPost, and the Colombia Journalism Review.  MintPress journalists and former journalists in Minnesota provided most of them.

    Though Whitney Webb claims to live in Chile, she actually lives in Sarasota, Florida, a very corrupt town.

    The editor-in-chief of MintPress is Mnar Muhawesh.  The managing editor is Muhammad Muhawesh.  It is funded by Whitney’s father-in-law, Odeh Muhawesh, a Minneapolis businessman born in Jordan.

    Odeh Muhawesh studied under an Iranian ayatollah for five years after the Islamic Revolution.  He visited Iran as recently as last summer.  Hopsicker says MintPress’s positions comport with those of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

    Odeh Muhawesh pays his journalists much more than they can command elsewhere.  Mint Press runs few ads so where they get the money is a mystery.  Odeh claims to have founded various businesses but none seem to be operational. Hopsicker notes a minor coincidence with a past cocaine smuggling ring (see article for details), but it might be just that, a coincidence.

    Hopsicker suggests that Mint Press if funded by the CIA.

    Read the whole article:  Paint It Mint.  I don’t know what to make of it, maybe someone can provide an informed judgment.

  18. The ending blurb says Whitney Webb has won the “Serena Shim Award.”  It’s easy to find out who Serena Shim was, but who gives out the award (merely named in honor of Shim)?

  19. The Serena Shim Award has a website.  It says absolutely nothing about who is behind it.

    When someone said the award was “shady” Whitney Webb responded:  “the cash prize is funded by an all-American political action committee that opposes US interventionism abroad.”

    According to that PAC is — well read what they say about it:

    The Association for Investment in Popular Action Committees, an umbrella nonprofit based in the San Francisco Bay area, ostensibly exists to raise awareness of “social justice issues that are key to sustainable world peace.”  In practice, that has meant bolstering public support for the Assad regime, which has rewarded the group and one of its main fronts, the Syria Solidarity Movement, with visas and access to top officials in Damascus.

    Two dozen people or news organizations have been awarded the prize [Serena Shim Award] thus far.  That could mean as much as $120,000 in prize money for pro-Assad media, assuming the same rate is the same across the board …

    However the first article above (that quotes Whitney Webb) says:

    Bellingcat itself is directly funded by some extremely shady organizations, including the Open Society Foundation and the US government’s National Endowment for Democracy (NED). That is the same NED that is currently bankrolling the protests in Hong Kong and has organized regime change operations in Nicaragua and Venezuela.

    Now just because Whitney is in bed with Assad doesn’t mean what she says about Israel is false, but we need to realize where she is coming from.

    I’d rather these foreign expats fought their battles from the countries to which they’re beholden instead of from here. I could care less about Assad.

  20. @No Hard Feelings

    You realize that the cloak of secrecy surrounding a huge fraction of war, diplomacy, business, and crime limits most of the people who might read this so tightly that the Occam’s razor cut is simply throw up your hands and presume that Hopsicker is an intelligence funded operation?

    Why does anybody trust anybody?

  21. Mark Hunter says: • Website

    Take care not to bandy about Occam’s Razor so freely that you cut an innocent bystander. At least for sure Hopsicker is not funded by the CIA. Read his other articles.

    He has referenced Rodney Stich several times and Stich is the real deal.

    One thing I don’t like about Hopsicker is the style of his writing. His articles, I mean each article typically, is disorganized. The one I referenced is no exception.

    • Replies: @Mark Hunter
  22. Anon[211] • Disclaimer says:

    All US cybersecurity should be handled by domestic companies staffed by American citizens with citizenship in one country. Its too important to be entrusted to anyone with dual loyalties.

    Freaking ridiculous. You think Japan, or China, or Russia outsources this kinda thing? Plain nutty

  23. Mark Hunter says: • Website
    @Mark Hunter

    Correction: I might have been wrong about Hopsicker referencing Rodney Stich. At any rate I can’t find any reference online.

    • Replies: @RabbiHighComma
  24. @Mark Hunter

    Thanks for the info Moishe. Pro-tip: the goyim trust Iran more than Israel. Please download the newest talking points.

  25. Christo says:

    ZOG rules, till somebody raises the Blutfahne.

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