Israel allowed more countries to buy its defense exports last year as European and NATO arms spending rose following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and US-brokered regional agreements led to increased deals.
Some 61 nations were given the go-ahead to purchase Israeli-made armaments and ammunition, compared with 42 in 2020, according to the Defense Ministry. In the category of unmanned aerial vehicles and drones, 56 were authorized, up from 40 two years earlier.
The figures, supplied in response to a Freedom of Information re-quest by lawyer and human-rights activist Eitay Mack, show that 17 countries were approved for training and guidance, up from two in 2020. The largest number of countries approved in a single category was for the purchase of intelligence and cyber systems. That was 83, compared with 67 in 2020.
The government didn’t disclose which countries were given permission to access defense exports.
The boon has been supported by demand related to the Ukraine attack in early 2022, and has benefited the Israeli defense industry this year as well. Last week, Germany and Israel sealed Jerusalem’s biggest ever defense export deal, with Berlin committing to purchase the Arrow 3 air-defense system for about $4 billion.
Israel isn’t the only country in the region whose defense sales have increased recently. Turkey’s drone exports have also risen steadily, giving it greater political sway within and beyond the Middle East.
According to estimates by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, Israel was a top 10 arms exporter in the world between 2018 and 2022.