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Military know-how gleaned from Gaza war to help Israel business, says Minister

February 27, 2024 at 8:30 pm

Nir Barkat, Israel’s economy minister, during a Bloomberg Television interview in New York, US, on Monday, Nov. 13, 2023. [Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg via Getty Images]

Israel’s war against Hamas in Gaza will help Israel’s economy rebound after the war, partly because its fresh experience of warfare is set to boost military technology sales, its Economy Minister said on Tuesday, Reuters reports.

Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a World Trade Organisation Ministerial Conference in Abu Dhabi, Israel’s Economy and Industry Minister, Nir Barkat, said the war’s domestic impact on Israel was “not something Israel cannot bear mid- to long-term”.

He estimated the total cost at 150-200 billion shekels, or roughly $50 billion, regardless of the war’s duration.

“You should always realise in the wars Israel had we had a dip in the economy, but immediately after, we had a huge spike back of innovation. And the knowledge and the experience Israel is gathering in this round of violence is second to none,” said Barkat, who is a member of Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party and widely seen as his potential successor.

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Israel’s Gaza assault, triggered by Hamas’ s deadly 7 October attack on Israel, has killed nearly 30,000 people in Gaza, Palestinian authorities say. Some 1,200 people died in Hamas’ attacks on Israel, according to Israeli tallies, and 253 people were taken hostage, of whom a portion remains in captivity in Gaza.

However, since then, it has been revealed by Haaretz that helicopters and tanks of the Israeli army had, in fact, killed many of the 1,139 soldiers and civilians claimed by Israel to have been killed by the Palestinian Resistance.

Barkat said Israel had held a lot of meetings during the four-day WTO meeting about what he called Israel’s “competitive advantage”, referring to its high-tech economy and significant number of entrepreneurs across various sectors.

One of those sectors is homeland security.

“Especially after this war, I think we are probably going to be leading many, many initiatives on what next-generation warfare is going to look like,” said Barkat.

Asked if those interested included Arab countries, whose relations with Israel have been strained by Israel’s more than four-month war against Hamas, he said there was high interest from around the world.

“Anybody who thinks [they are] threatened by the regime of Iran or threatened, then they tap us to better understand what we’ve learned and what [the]solutions, what [the] security challenges are. And we are way ahead of everyone.”

According to an initial estimate by Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics, its $500 billion economy contracted an annual 19.4 per cent in the fourth quarter from the prior three months.

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