The war in Ukraine and the so-called “Abraham Accords” have been a major boost for Israeli arms manufacturers, according to details of contracts revealed by Haaretz. Military and security exports have surged by 30 per cent over figures from previous years.
New contracts in 2021 totalled $11.3 billion, up from $8.6bn in 2020. Although this year is not yet over, arms export data indicates that Israel is on track to chalk up particularly high sales and a long list of enormous deals.
Israel’s normalisation with several Arab countries and the war in Ukraine are the two main reasons for the uptick in sales. The normalisation deals that Israel signed with the UAE, Bahrain and Morocco are said to have boosted its arms exports to countries in the region. Last year was a record one for military exports by Israel, with Gulf countries accounting for roughly seven per cent of such sales.
Israel has sold advanced Barak and Spyder air defence systems to the UAE. Morocco has signed a contract for Barak interceptor systems.
“The Abraham Accords have a lot of potential. Countries in our region have begun cooperating with Israel, and it’s a win-win situation for all sides,” Boaz Levy, the CEO of Israel Aerospace, is reported to have said in a telephone conversation from Bahrain. “This is the first time that we have officially come here to the aviation fair in Bahrain – with an Israeli pavilion, under the Israeli flag, under the banner of Israel Aerospace Industries.”
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A few months ago, Defence Minister Benny Gantz revealed that in the two years since the Abraham Accords were first signed, Israel has agreed defence export deals worth $3bn with countries in the region. This is thought to be an enormous jump in a market that had been off-limits to the occupation state.
Moreover, the war in Ukraine provided an opportunity for Israel to sign one of the largest export contracts ever. NATO members are working on a joint European Sky Shield initiative. If the deal is signed it would not only be the deal of the year — because it will require the purchase of the Israel/US built Arrow 3 system — but also the Israeli defence sector’s largest export contract ever.
The signing still requires the approval of the US, but the administration of US President Joe Biden is not expected to stand in the way.