Europe's rise in defense spending profits Israeli firms

Israeli-Palestinian conflict field-tested weapons have proved a major selling point for Israel defense manufacturers.


In the wake of increased threats, Europeans have risen the defense budgets which in turn is benefiting Israeli companies which are seeing a boost in sales, further solidifying the country's image as an arms industry leader.

The increases have come despite, and perhaps partly aided by, Israel's continuing conflict with the Palestinians. Israeli firms themselves highlight that their products have been tested in the field.

European spending on defense and security had remained roughly static in the past decade, but Russia's annexation of Crimea in 2014, Islamist attacks in France and a wave of refugees from the Middle East have encouraged a peak in the statistics.

Defense budgets are expected to increase by 8.3 percent this year across the continent. According to a recent report by a group of think tanks including the French Institute for International and Strategic Affairs, there is a rise in the defence budget.

Israeli companies are capitalizing by pushing new products.Many of the Israeli companies have strong backing from the state.

Twenty-nine of Israeli companies displayed their new technologies this week at the Eurosatory conference in Paris, one of the world's largest land defense exhibitions.

Exports to France, which has strongly criticized Israeli settlement building in the West Bank and is overseeing a peace initiative that the Israelis oppose, have spiked.

In 2014, the total number of exports of both homeland security and defense technologies from Israel to France amounted to slightly over $150 million, according to the Israel Export Institute.When France was hit by two major jihadist attacks, that figure more than doubled to $355 million in 2015.

In 2016, Israel is projected to overtake Italy to become the world's seventh-largest defence exporter — by far the smallest country in the top 10, according to arms industry analysts IHS Jane's report.

Ran Kril, vice president of international marketing at Elbit Systems, one of the country's largest weapons companies said in a Israeli local news source that, "There has been a 'substantial increase' in European interest in Israeli technologies." Elbit Systems,one of the Israel's largest weapons companies profits was just under $900 million last year.That has come "after long years in which the defense budgets in Europe were declining," he added.