Israeli arms exports hit record sales for third year in a row despite war in Gaza
06/20/2024 // Laura Harris // Views

Israel has reached its third consecutive year of record-breaking arms exports, as annual arms sales soared to $13.1 billion in 2023 despite the increased scrutiny the Israeli military establishment is facing over allegations of war crimes in Gaza.

According to the Israeli Ministry of Defense's International Defense Cooperation Directorate, the $13.1 billion in arms exports for 2023 marks a $500 million increase from the previous year. This marks nearly double the value of exports compared to five years ago when figures ranged between $7.5 billion and $8.5 billion from 2018 to 2020.

Missiles, rockets and air defense systems comprised over a third of these exports, with the most significant contract being a $4 billion deal with Germany for the Arrow 3 long-range anti-ballistic missile system. Radar and electronic warfare systems, along with weapons launchers, each represented 11 percent of exports. (Related: Israel inks deal to get 25 additional F-35 fighter jets from U.S. paid for by American taxpayers.)

Cyber-intelligence systems, although notable, only make up four percent of sales and have faced scrutiny for allegedly being used by authoritarian nations to monitor journalists and political dissidents. The remainder of the exports included unmanned aerial vehicles and drones, manned aircraft, avionics, observation systems, communication systems, vehicles, maritime systems, ammunition and other services.

Geographically, the Asia-Pacific region emerged as the largest buyer of Israeli defense products, accounting for 48 percent of total exports. Europe followed with 35 percent, while North America represented nine percent, Latin America three percent, and Africa one percent. Notably, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Morocco – which normalized relations with Israel under the 2020 Abraham Accords – accounted for only three percent of arms purchases, a significant drop from 24 percent in 2022.

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This surge comes amid increased production and demand following the outbreak of war on Oct. 7. The Defense Ministry stated that it has been operating in an "emergency mode," with defense contractors intensifying their efforts to manufacture weaponry and equipment for the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) around the clock while fulfilling prior international orders.

"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 honor, 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," boasted Defense Minister Yoav Gallant.

"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," he added.

Colombia and France boycott Israel's arms exports

But despite the surge in arms exports, Israel is facing increasing criticisms and boycotts due to its ongoing military operations in Gaza.

In May, a French court banned Israeli companies from participating in the 2024 annual Eurosatory Arms and Defense Industry Exhibition in Villepinte, Paris, this June, likely in response to the assault on Rafah in southern Gaza.

"By decision of the government authorities, there will be no stand for the Israeli defense industry at the Eurosatory 2024 fair," organizers of Coges Events said on May 31. "Conditions are no longer met to host Israeli companies at the show at a time when President Emmanuel Macron is calling for Israel to cease operations in Rafah."

Similarly, in April, President Gustavo Petro of Colombia announced the suspension of weapons purchases from Israel after the IDF allegedly fired on people seeking food in Gaza. Petro blamed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for the violence around the aid convoy and then described the deaths as "genocide."

"Asking for food, more than 100 Palestinians were killed by Netanyahu," Petro said in a post on X. "This is called genocide and is reminiscent of the Holocaust, even if the world powers do not like to recognize it. The world must block Netanyahu. Colombia suspends all purchases of weapons from Israel."

Visit for similar stories.

Watch this report from Southfront Press discussing how Israel has decided to double down on its conflict against Palestinians despite military pressure from multiple fronts and growing international pressure.

This video is from the channel The Prisoner on

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Israel flattens Gaza’s Jabalia as officials present genocide defense at ICJ.

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