Israeli arms exports hit new high with $13 billion sales in 2023

The Israeli Ministry of Defense says the surge in exports comes as industries ‘are committed to Israels war effort’


This picture taken from Israel's southern border with the Gaza Strip on April 17, 2024 shows a battery of Israel's Iron Dome air defence system deployed near the Palestinian territory, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the militant group Hamas. (Photo by JACK GUEZ / AFP) (Photo by JACK GUEZ/AFP via Getty Images)

Annual Israeli arms exports have broken sales records for the third consecutive year in 2023, according to Defense Ministry figures released on Monday.

The ministry’s International Defense Cooperation Directorate, known as SIBAT reported defense exports have doubled in the last five years as sales totaled $13billion in 2023.

This is up from $12.5billion in 2022 – the previous record high – and up from between $7.5-8.5 billion from 2018-2020.

Following the outbreak of the war on October 7, the Defense Ministry has been in “emergency mode,” as defense contractors have been drafted to provide weapons and equipment for the IDF.

The ministry said: “Despite the war, 2023 was characterised by significant export deals.”

Air defense systems constituted the majority of exports, accounting for 36 per cent – a significant increase from 19 per cent in 2022.

The surge was primarily attributed to Israel's £3.38 billion sale of the Arrow 3 anti-ballistic missile system to Germany, in a deal that was finalised a couple of months before the most recent war with Hamas started.

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said: “Even in a year in which the State of Israel is fighting against seven different arenas, the defense exports of the State of Israel succeed in continuing to break records.

“This fact is a certificate of honour, first and foremost, for our defense industries and the creative and talented minds that work in them and drive them to the heights of breakthrough innovation.

“This year’s figures show that even though our defense industries are committed… to the war effort, they continue to sign more and more significant export deals, thus enabling the realization of the effort led by the Defense Ministry to increase defense exports while opening them to new markets.”

Asia-Pacific was the largest region to purchase Israeli defense exports with 48 per cent followed by 35 per cent from the Europe.

The UAE, Bahrain and Morrocco who normalised relations with Israel in the 2020 Abraham Accords only accounted for 3 per cent of exports – a drop from 24 per cent in 2022.

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