Israel's Ashdod Port recently signed an MoU with the Port Authority of Azerbaijan, according to which the cybersecurity division of the southern Israeli port will supply training and professional knowledge in the field of cybersecurity to workers of the new Port of Baku in Alat, whose construction was recently completed. This agreement, signed by the Azeri Port Authority Chairman, Dr. Talah Ziadov, during a visit to Israel, represents the first time the Ashdod Port will export professional knowledge outside of the country.
The Ashdod Port websitte notes, that Dr. Ziadov made his first visit in 2017 and was deeply impressed by the extensive knowledge that had been accumulated in dealing with cybersecurity threats. During the visit, Ziadov met with Bernard Ben Yishai, who is in charge of emergency security and cyber at the port, and with Ilan Matalon, the port's CISO, who introduced him to the organization's concept of security as well as the latest developments and advanced tools being integrated at the port.
"We are excited for the first cooperation of its kind in the field of security and cyber with the new port in Azerbaijan," said the Ashdod Port CEO, Shiko Zana. "This step is an additional confirmation of our status as the most advanced port in Israel, in the realm of security in general and in cybersecurity in particular. This agreement consolidates our status as a professional authority and we are proud of our significant foothold."
The Ashdod Port, which has undergone a technological revolution in recent years, seeks to place itself at the forefront of innovation in the maritime world. The port operates a startup incubator with 22 companies that focus on five main fields: operations, logistics, energy, security and cyber. In July, the port hosted Israel's first maritime cyber conference, which drew experts from around the world to discuss approaches and strategies for dealing with maritime cyber threats.
Cooperation in the field of cyber and technology between Israel and Azerbaijan is also expanding, and received additional momentum with the establishment of the Azeri trade office in Tel Aviv some two months ago. In an interview to journalist Dean Shmuel Elmas of the Israel Hayom newspaper, Azeri Economy Minister Mikayil Jabbarov said that his country also hopes for cooperation in cybersecurity fields. In 2014, the CERT of Azerbaijan reported the intention of the government to cooperate with Israel in these fields.
But alongside praise for the extensive cooperation with a Muslim country, it is impossible to ignore criticism pointed at Israel. The most recent report by SIPRI (the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute) revealed that Israel supplied 69% of Azerbaijan's arms imports in 2020. Various reports refer to suicide drones and other weaponry that Azerbaijan used in the war against the Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh. Israeli human rights attorney Eitay Mack said in a previous interview with Israel Defense that "Azerbaijan is one of the most difficult, most significant stories of Israel's arms export deals."