Israel Hails 'Record' Year in Arms Exports, Despite $2 Billion Decrease

Defense-related exports totaled over $7.5b in 2018, less than 2017's $9.2b

Yaniv Kubovich
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File photo: An Iron Dome interceptor system is seen on an Israeli missile boat at a navy base in Haifa, Israel, February 12, 2019.
File photo: An Iron Dome interceptor system is seen on an Israeli missile boat at a navy base in Haifa, Israel, February 12, 2019.Credit: Jack Guez/Pool via Reuters
Yaniv Kubovich

Israel's Defense Ministry announced Wednesday that 2018 was a "record" year for defense-related exports, but its own data shows a decline of almost $2 billion compared to the previous year.

In a statement released by the ministry's International Defense Cooperation Directorate, it said the scope of contracts signed in 2018 was slightly over $7.5 billion, in what export branch head Col. (res.) Mishel Ben-Baruch called "another record breaking year in Israeli security export."

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Ben-Baruch was the same official to brief members of the press almost a year ago in May, hailing an all-time record in exports in 2017, which totaled $9.2 billion, marking a 40 percent increase over 2016.

Responding to an Haaretz inquiry, the Defense Ministry said: "This is the second-best ever achievement. The numbers speak for themselves."

The Defense Ministry's most recent statement shows a 7-percent decrease in sales of air defense and missile systems, as well as in contracts for teleprocessing systems. A 25-percent increase in sales of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), drones and manned aircrafts was also noted.

Most contracts were signed with customers in East Asian and Pacific countries, with an increase in sales to European, Latin American and North American countries. Arms exports to African countries has decreased.

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