Israel’s arms exports are booming. That certainly doesn’t sound good to many people in the West. Right? Weapons Made in Israel. Blue & White products with the latest technology that hit target more precisely. But that’s a fact, and Israel’s Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said “it reflects Israel’s capabilities.” If Israel was once world famous for its Jaffa oranges, in this generation the Jewish state is known for its technological weaponization. Tiny Israel grew up in a warlike reality and environment. Israel had no choice but to defend itself. In addition, the Arab boycott of Israel up to 30 years ago made a positive contribution to the present situation, since Israel was largely forced to develop its own fighter jets (Kfir), tanks (Merkava), rockets, machine guns and much more. In times of need and war, Western governments have been reluctant to supply arms to Israel. In retrospect, that was a good thing because today governments buy arms from Israel.
Last year, Israel’s arms exports hit a record $12.5 billion. A quarter of the contracts signed in 2022 are for drones and unmanned aerial vehicles. Israel’s Ministry of Defense published these record-breaking figures yesterday. Nations worldwide understand the added value of Israeli weapons technology. Especially at a time like this, governments in Europe as well as in the Middle East fear a possible outbreak of war.
According to the data, the volume of defense exports has doubled in less than 10 years, and arms exports have also increased by 50 percent in the last three years, according to the Defense Ministry. While 25 percent of sales were for drones and UAVs, missiles of various types and anti-aircraft systems made up 19 percent, radar systems and electronic warfare technologies 13 percent, and optronics 10 percent.
The size of arms exports between Israel and the Arab countries of the Abraham Accords stood at nearly $3 billion in 2022, an impressive figure that accounted for 25 percent of Israel’s arms deals that year. It looks like these governments will buy even more weapons and technology from Israel this year.
Israel’s close ties with the Arab governments that signed the Abraham Accords a few years ago, as well as the war in Europe, are the main factors behind the sharp rise in defense exports over the past two years. Both regions – Middle East and Europe – are in dire need of advanced weapons and technology, and they find it in the geographical midpoint between Asia, Africa and Europe – in the Holy Land.
Geographically, countries from Asia and the Pacific top the list, purchasing the most Israeli weapons, 30 percent of the total volume. European countries follow with 29 percent. Politicians in the European Parliament publicly criticize Israel’s behavior toward the Palestinians because Israel does not fit into their pacifist worldview, but they are now quietly buying weapons themselves in Israel. The Arab governments in the Persian Gulf, who appreciate Israel’s technology very much, follow with 25 percent. Commenting on last year’s arms boom, Gallant said: “These are unprecedented numbers, and they most impressively reflect Israel’s security strength and technological superiority. This trend is likely to increase further in 2023.”
Israel’s arms exports make a significant contribution to the country’s security, economic growth and strengthening national resilience. According to official figures, Israel’s defense industry provides financial support, directly and indirectly, to around 100,000 households in the country.
Now, of course, one can ask whether Israel’s arms exports to Arab governments are not a tactical blunder, since Israeli arms and missiles may one day turn against Israel. That is quite possible and Jerusalem accepts this. Either way, the Arabs would have had to buy weapons, if not in Israel then from someone else. But in the meantime, the arms boom is helping Israel’s economy, and believe me, not every army that comes knocking is granted access to Israeli technology, missiles or drones. Either way, Israel has a secret weapon it cannot sell to other peoples, “God on its side.” This is what many in the country really see and believe.
Israel Today Membership
Save 18% Per Month.
Six Months Membership
Save 9% Per Month.