IBM, International Business Machines Corporation, is an American multinational technology corporation, one of the world’s largest and oldest computer and IT companies. The company has two fully-owned Israeli subsidiaries, IBM Israel Ltd., and Red Hat Israel.
Services to the Israeli Population, Immigration and Borders Authority
In 2017, IBM was contracted by the Israeli Population, Immigration and Borders Authority to design and operate a new system for the Population Registry database, to replace its current system “Aviv” which was operated and managed by HP and later by HPE and DXC Technologies.
According to the response on a Freedom of Information request submitted by Who Profits, since 2019, IBM operates the central database and computer system of Israel’s Population, Immigration and Borders Authority and stores all of the system’s data for the Israeli authorities. Between 2018 and 2021, IBM won contracts for the years 2018-2035 for computing services and hardware for an amount of over NIS 800 million.
Population Registry database
The Israeli Population Registry includes data on all Palestinians with Israeli citizenship, occupied East Jerusalem non-citizen residents, and Palestinians in West Bank and Gaza. Through this registry, the Israeli authorities handle the permits for Palestinian workers who work within Israel and in Israeli settlements, as well as other permits needed in order to enter Israel for medical needs, family visits, travel abroad, etc.
Since the Oslo Accords, the Israeli Civil Administration (ICA) keeps a copy of the Palestinian Population registry from the Palestinian Authority (PA), which includes personal information and addresses on all occupied West Bank and Gaza residents registered. The registry is constantly updated by Population and Immigration Authority’s unit in the ICA, located in the settlement of Beit El. The data in the registry is systematically used by Israel for the implementation of discriminatory policies against Palestinians who are eligible for different rights under Israeli control, including discrimination in the relation to freedom of movement, voting, family reunification and access to services. The Authority is also in charge of issuing permits for all international visitors to the West Bank.
Documenting Crossings for the Israeli Borders Authority
The Eitan system, operated and managed by IBM, also documents all of the crossings under Israeli control, including Allenby Bridge Crossing, which is the only access for West Bank Palestinian residents to travel abroad; and Erez checkpoint, which is the only crossing for the movement of people between the besieged Gaza and Israel and the West Bank - both controlled by and subjected to Israeli authorities.
In 2021, IBM was contracted to provide services for remote biometric identification system as part of the biometric identification project of the administration for NIS 5.6 million.
As part of the Israeli government's “digital acceleration” plan outlined in Resolution No. 260, IBM along with Elbit Systems has been awarded several contracts to digitalize services and data storing for the Israeli Borders Authority. These include a NIS 18 million contract awarded to the companies in December 2020 for the development of the E-VISA project (Marom in Hebrew). E-Visa is an online platform for entrance visa applications. The project includes a “pre-passenger arrival data” collection system that is to be developed by Elbit Systems.
Services to the Israeli military
Red Hat Israel
IBM’s Israeli subsidiary Red Hat Israel works extensively with the Israeli military, providing edge computing and software-based storage data centers to multiple units of the Israeli military. Company’s professional services personnel work fully with many units in the Israeli military, and both the company and the military consider the other a business partner.
Red Hat works in collaboration with the Israeli military Computer and Information Systems Unit, “Mamram”. Mamram is the cloud service and data processing services provider for all military units and general military staff. The unit maintains small databases that can be deployed on-field to support military actions. The company provides its Red Hat OpenShift platform for secure central data center, as well as consulting and training services. Mamram also uses the company’s Red Hat Advanced Cluster Management and Red Hat Anxible Automation Platform for automation and accelerate endpoint deployment.
In 2022, the company awarded Mamram Unit its 2022 technological innovation award at the company’s Global Summit event for its customers around the world.
The Israeli military widely uses Red Hat's software Openshift as its cloud platform and performs extensive activities with it. In addition, the company has Joint projects with Israeli military Computer Service and Cyber Defense divisions in the fields of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning.
In 2018, the Israeli military Computer and IT Directorate launched its own operational cloud, infrastructure-based on Red Hat technologies. The cloud was part of the Israeli Military Network Program to establish an operational Internet infrastructure with significant operational value which allows to share operational information between military divisions such as the Israeli Air Force, Intelligence, Ground Forces and Navy. The project was reportedly worth tens of millions of shekels.
Red Hat Israel takes part in a joint venture with the military's Computer Service Directorate, the “Nitzanim” program, a three-year training program for high school students. The program is designed to detect and train teens with potential and technological orientation in software and cyber to integrate them into military units. In 2022, company personnel held a technology summer camp together with Israeli military officers.
IBM’s history with the Israeli military dates back to 1969, when the Israeli military installed its first IBM computer outside the military computing center.
In 2020, IBM was contracted by the Israeli Ministry of Defense (IMOD) and the Israeli military to be the main IT provider for three new military regional logistics centers for the period of 25 years. The new centers will provide all the military’s logistical needs using an advanced technology. The entire operation is expected to be civilian, and based largely on robotics and sophisticated equipment. The contract, shared by IBM and MalamTeam (a public Israeli IT Company) is valued at $1B for both companies.
In 2017, IBM was contracted by the IMOD for the operation and maintenance of the Israeli military computing centers in the amount of more than $ 20 million.
In 2011, IBM was contracted by the IMOD for hundreds of millions of USD to supply the Israeli military with storage and central servers.
Throughout the early 2000s dozens of IBM Israel employees were outsourced by the Israeli military’s Computer and IT unit and worked alongside soldiers and officers.
Joint projects with the Israeli Ministry of Defense (IMOD)
IBM is part of a joint venture with the Israeli military in a program designed to qualify combatants who have been discharged from service in the Israeli military (8200 Unit) to work in the Israeli cyber and high-tech industry.
IBM is part of The Israel Innovation Authority committee, which operates joint ventures with the Administration of the Ministry of Defense and the National Cyber Directorate in the Prime Minister's Office to support Israeli technology companies in the fields of cyber defense for the defense and commercial markets.
IBM takes part in a project of business companies, in cooperation with the Israeli military and the Israeli Ministry of Education, meant to encourage high school students to excel in computer science and technology as a way to “preserve and improve Israel's technological excellence” and “defense abilities”. Engineers from the company lecture at schools alongside military officers who give preparatory lectures for military service.
IBM participates in iHLS INNOTECH, the International Conference and Exhibition in Israel for Cyber and Homeland Security, which is organized in cooperation with the IMOD and the Israeli Administration for the Development of Weapons and Technological Infrastructure. The conference hosts senior officials from the defense establishment, police, security and intelligence agencies and senior executives from the defense industries.
IBM has been a participator, sponsor and speaker in Cybertech exhibitions in Israel organized by and sponsored by Israel National Cyber Security Authority, Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Israel Ministry of Economy.
Services to Settlements - Ariel University
IBM cooperates with Ariel University located in the settlement of Ariel in the West Bank. In 2019, the company hosted a mentoring event of the University in its compound, and participated in another event for top students of the University.
In 2018, IBM launched a new cyber research center in the high-tech park “Gav-Yam” in the city of Be'er Sheva in the Naqab. The industrial park is located next to the Israeli military telecommunication base and Computer Service Directorate campus, and was built as part of a Southern Relocation plan led by the Israeli Ministry of Defense. This military and industrial development plan was designed to relocate technology companies alongside military elite tech units to the Naqab in order to enhance the integration of soldiers from Cyber units in work in high-tech companies at the end of their service. This project is part of a greater attempt to strengthen Jewish settlement and development in the Naqab while Palestinian Bedouin communities in the region face forced displacement and de-development by Israeli authorities.
For more on Development & Military Projects in the Naqab see Who Profits’ interactive map: Tools of Dispossession in the Naqab.
Services to the Israel Police
Since 1975, IBM has provided the Israel Police with computer and software equipment, including a central computer, backup libraries and Operating System software, and a great part of its computer systems depend solely on IBM hardware and software. Over the years, many of those systems have been developed based on IBM’s hardware and software.
In 2016, the company was contracted with an exemption from tender by Israel Police to be the sole supplier for Software maintenance for NIS 3 million and to be the Israel Police sole supplier for hardware maintenance in an additional contract. In 2014, the company was contracted for maintenance of central computer and software licensing for two years for NIS 2.8 million.