Cybersecurity pioneer to receive Israel Prize in technology and innovation
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Cybersecurity pioneer to receive Israel Prize in technology and innovation

JERUSALEM (JTA) — An Israeli pioneer in cybersecurity will receive the prestigious Israel Prize in the field of technology and innovation.

Gil Shwed, founder and CEO of Check Point Software Technologies, was announced as the winner in the new category established in honor of Israel’s 70th birthday. Education Minister Naftali Bennett made the announcement on Sunday.

The Israel Prize is awarded each year in several categories in a special public ceremony on Independence Day.

Check Point, founded 25 years ago, is among Israel’s largest technology companies and a major world cybersecurity company. The company invented the world’s first firewall based on a patent held by Shwed.

Prior to founding the company, Shwed was part of the Israeli army’s elite Unit 8200, where he worked on military computer projects.

“Shwed’s contribution to Israel in the development of the high tech industry has been important for nearly 25 years,” the selection committee said in a statement. “His company is a leader in information technology and cybersecurity, and has created thousands of jobs, while demonstrating worldwide the excellence of Israel’s human capital.”

“Shwed engages in significant and extensive public activity to promote leadership and excellence among talented young people, with an emphasis on the socially outlying areas and his contribution in fostering the future generation in Israel. Gil Shwed’s influence on Israeli society and global technology is enormous. He has become a figure worthy of imitation in Israel and all over the world,” the committee also said.

A father of four who lives in Tel Aviv, Shwed began studying computer science at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem while still in high school. He said in a statement that he was “moved to receive the announcement that I had been selected to receive the Israel Prize, especially in a field so greatly associated with our country and Israeli society.”