Friday, 1 Dec 2023 - 18 of Kislev, 5784

Israel signs with Germany largest defense deal in its history

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The German Air Force is to take delivery of Israel’s Arrow 3 missile defense system by the fourth quarter of 2025.

“Today the State of Israel is prepared to expand our defense and industrial cooperation, with additional global partners,” said Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant at the signing ceremony in Berlin.

By JNS with EJP

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant on Thursday in Berlin signed an agreement to provide Israel’s Arrow 3 missile defense system to Germany. At an estimated value of $3.5 billion, the deal is the largest of its kind in Israel’s history.

The first missile battery, including radar, launch and interception management systems, is to be supplied to the Germans by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) by the fourth quarter of 2025.

Germany is the first foreign purchaser of the system.

Arrow 3 is the upper-tier layer of Israel’s missile defense program, designed to intercept ballistic missiles during the exoatmospheric portion of their trajectory, at altitudes above 100 kilometers (62 miles). It became operational in Israel on Jan. 18, 2017.

In June, German lawmakers approved advanced payments of up to €560 million ($606 million) for the system.

The primary contractor for the integration and development of the system is IAI, working with additional Israeli and American defense firms.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz made an initial request for the system in a meeting with then-Prime Minister Naftali Bennett in March 2022, with Israel working behind the scenes since to persuade Washington to allow the sale.

The system, among the most advanced of its kind, was jointly developed by the Israeli Missile Defense Organization and the U.S. Missile Defense Agency, and therefore required American approval to sell to a third party.

The U.S. gave the green light on Aug. 17.

Picture from Ariel Hermoni (IMoD).

In August, Germany’s ambassador to Israel, Steffen Seibert, told JNS that Arrow 3 “will add a very substantial element to our military relationship. It will also make it more of a two-way street, a development that began already with the German use of Israeli drone systems to protect our soldiers in foreign missions.”

Seibert said while the system will first and foremost protect Germany, ultimately the idea is “to integrate the system into European air defense, so Arrow 3 will also protect neighboring European countries.”

On the occasion of the deal signing,  a celebratory ceremony was held at the German Ministry of Defense in Berlin, hosted by Minister of Defense Boris Pistorius.

At the onset of the ceremony, the Ministers signed a joint declaration expressing their shared commitment to strengthening defense ties between their countries. This was followed by a brief signing ceremony during which the Director General of the Israel Ministry of Defense Eyal Zamir, and the Director-General of the Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment, Annette Lehnigk-Emden, signed the letter of commitment necessary to proceed with the Arrow-3 agreement. The letter discusses a commitment that amounts to $600 million, and will enable the parties to begin working on the project immediately.

“The “Arrow-3 for Germany” is the biggest agreement signed to date, and we are committed, to a timely and effective delivery. This agreement is tangible evidence that Israel and Germany are true partners,” Gallant declared. “Just as it [Arrow-3] guards Israel’s skies and saves lives, now it will also defend Germany and its citizens, and may integrate smoothly, with NATO systems,” he added.

“Today the State of Israel is prepared to expand our defense and industrial cooperation, with additional global partners.”

The Israeli minister continued: “The Iranian fingerprint is everywhere – from the hundred thousand missiles provided by Iran to Hezbollah in Lebanon, to the weapons used for terror attacks against Israelis, and the missile attacks on our Gulf neighbors.”

During a closed-door meeting on Thursday, Minister Yoav Gallant and his German counterpart Boris Pistorius also convened to discuss the possibility of a Saudi nuclear program.

The development occurs one week after the Saudi crown prince has confirmed his country would seek to acquire a nuclear arsenal if Iran developed one.

Gallant, addressing the concerns, emphasized that “the Israeli security establishment will give a professional response” following consultations with key entities such as the Defense Ministry, Mossad, Israel’s nuclear authority, and the IDF chief of staff.

Gallant affirmed, “When the answers are clear, we will inform the prime minister and cabinet, and subsequently, the public.”

The silence of Moshe Edri, the head of the Israel Atomic Energy Commission, at the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) annual conference on the potential for Saudi Arabia to grow nuclear abilities has raised eyebrows.

Instead, Edri reiterated Israel’s longstanding position on Iran’s uranium enrichment and highlighted Syria’s lack of cooperation with the IAEA.

Until now, Israel has remained silent on Saudi Arabia’s potential uranium enrichment activities.

This coiencides with the first official visit of an Israeli Minister to Saudi Arabia, and discussions of potential normalization agreement between Saudi Arabia and Israel by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the UN General Assembly.

“The Abraham Accords heralded the dawn of a new age of peace,” Netanyahu said in his United Nations General Assembly speech.

“But I believe we are on the cusp of an even more dramatic breakthrough, a historic peace between Israel and Saudi Arabia. Such peace will go a long way to ending the Arab-Israeli conflict, encourage other Arab states to normalize relations with Israel, enhance the prospect of peace with Palestinians, and encourage broader reconciliation between Judaism and Islam, Jerusalem and Mecca… all these are tremendous blessings.”


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