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Israel government to expand global arms exports in 2020

Stop Arming Israel week of action - Blockade at Elbit and Ferranti Arms Factory in Oldham, UK on 3 July, 2017 [File photo]
Stop Arming Israel week of action - Blockade at Elbit and Ferranti Arms Factory in Oldham, UK on 3 July, 2017 [File photo]

The Israeli government is aiming to increase the volume of Israel’s defence exports, reported Globes, which has revealed the main points of the plan for the first time.

The project, being overseen by the Defence Ministry’s International Defence Cooperation Directorate (SIBAT) led by Brigadier General (Res.) Yair Kulas, will begin to be rolled out in early 2020.

According to Globes, the plan is based on “focused seminars for senior commanders in foreign armies”, Israeli military “assistance for promoting sales of Israeli weapons”, and “subsidising small and medium-sized defence companies seeking to sell arms around the world”.

Speaking this week, Kulas said that SIBAT favours a major expansion of agreements between countries, resulting in significant deals for the large defence companies, especially Elbit Systems, Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) and Rafael Advanced Defence Systems.

As reported by Globes, Israel’s defence exports totalled $7.5 billion in 2018, with 46 per cent of them being to Asia, 26 per cent to European countries, 20 per cent to North America, six per cent to Latin America and two per cent to Africa.

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The new focus includes “Asian countries with which Israel’s ties have hitherto been kept on a low media profile”, although specific names have not been mentioned publicly.

“As a matter of policy,” Globes explained, “the Ministry of Defence does not disclose the names of the countries to which arms from Israel are exported.”

In addition, the report added, the Defence Ministry “will pay the most attention in the coming years” with respect to arms exports to European countries.

A mapping conducted by the ministry in recent months cited 41 countries around the world considered important targets for Israeli arms firms, with half of those target countries in Europe.

One country cited by Globes is Finland, believed to be one of the Israeli arms industry’s targets. In recent years, Helsinki has purchases drones from Israeli company Aeronautics, and also “signed a deal in excess of €190 million [$209 million] for the purchase of ship-to-ship Gabriel missiles from IAI”.

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