The Arrow-3 interceptor being launched (IAI - video clip)

Despite vocal criticisms of Israel's military actions against Hamas in Gaza, European countries are increasingly turning to Israeli defense technology to address their own regional security concerns. This trend highlights the complex and often contradictory nature of international relations and national security strategies. This fact is highlighted by another record breaking year in Defense exports which totaled $13 Billion and is the third consecutive year of Defense export growth. 

A Surge in Global Demand for Israeli Defense Technology

Over the past few years, the Israeli defense industry has seen an unprecedented surge in global interest, orders, and sales. This surge is primarily driven by changes in the European security landscape rather than conflicts in the Middle East. Leading Israeli defense firms—Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, Elbit Systems, and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI)—report significant growth as European countries seek reliable weapons and technologies to navigate the evolving security environment.

Jerusalem Post News Editor Seth Frantzman, author of "Drone Wars: Pioneers, Killing Machines, Artificial Intelligence, and the Battle for the Future," emphasized this trend in an interview with "The Media Line." He stated, “the future in this century is going to be a lot more war, and I think most countries are arming themselves two or three decades after the end of the Cold War. You are going to see the defense industry globally grow, and Israel will benefit from that.” He added that the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas is expected to fuel further growth in the Israeli defense sector.

France's Controversial Ban and German Collaboration

In a surprising move, the French government recently announced it would bar Israeli firms from participating in the Eurosatory 2024 defense exhibition, citing Israel’s actions in Gaza. However, Rafael’s spokesperson downplayed the impact, stating, “While Eurosatory is important, it is just one exhibition. We don’t anticipate this decision having a ripple effect.”

Conversely, Israeli defense companies received a warm welcome at the ILA Berlin Air Show in early June, where German Chancellor Olaf Scholz met with them to discuss weapons collaboration. This highlights the pragmatic approach many European countries are taking towards Israeli defense technology.

The Resilience and Effectiveness of Israeli Defense Systems

Frantzman emphasized that while the controversy surrounding the purchase of Israeli weapons may persist until the conflict subsides, Israel’s use of these systems against Hamas and Hezbollah demonstrates their effectiveness, likely increasing global interest. “This is a temporary controversy,” Frantzman stated. “We are talking about billions of dollars in existing partnerships, and none of that is going to change; especially when we are talking about Israeli systems that are defensive in nature. There is nothing controversial about defensive systems.”

The effectiveness of Israeli defense technology was notably demonstrated in April when Iran launched over 300 missiles and drones at Israel. Israeli air defense systems, including the Arrow system produced by IAI, successfully intercepted these threats, sparking significant global interest in these systems.

Record-Breaking Success for Israeli Defense Firms

In 2023, IAI achieved record results, with a 7% growth in sales, reaching $5.3 billion. The company’s net profit surged by 49% to $318 million. The order backlog also increased by 19% to an estimated $18 billion. The successful deployment of IAI’s systems during the Gaza conflict contributed to a surge in orders from both the Israeli Ministry of Defense and international customers.

Elbit Systems also reported substantial growth. In the first quarter of 2024, sales to the Israeli market surged due to the ongoing conflict in Gaza and the northern border. Israel accounted for nearly 30% of Elbit’s sales, amounting to over $452 million. Overall, Elbit’s sales in the first quarter reached approximately $1.55 billion, an 11% increase from the previous year. The company’s order backlog hit a record $20.4 billion, a 12% increase compared to the previous year.

Major International Contracts

Recent international contracts further underscore the global demand for Israeli defense technology. In November, Finland signed a contract worth NIS 1.3 billion (€317 million) for the David’s Sling air defense system. Israel’s Ministry of Defense also finalized a $3.6 billion agreement to sell the Arrow 3 air defense system to Germany, with delivery scheduled for 2025. The Netherlands began receiving Elbit PULS rocket artillery systems as part of a €305 million contract with Elbit Systems.

Additionally, the Greek defense ministry is in negotiations with Israeli company Rafael to finalize a deal for the Spyder air defense system. The war in Ukraine has heightened international demand for this combat-proven system. The Czech Republic and Morocco have also selected the Rafael Spyder air defense system for their short-range air defense needs. Rafael, in collaboration with the Ministry of Defense, recently completed a successful test of the advanced SPYDER air defense system, demonstrating its capability in intercepting a UAV in a challenging operational scenario.


The burgeoning demand for Israeli defense technology amidst public criticism underscores the complex interplay between geopolitical realities and national security imperatives. As European nations quietly enhance their defense capabilities with Israeli systems, the Israeli defense industry continues to thrive, demonstrating the effectiveness and reliability of its technology on the global stage.

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