Israel, the world’s largest arms exporter per capita, seeks increase in U.S. military aid

While the United States exports more than tens times the volume of weapons that Israel exports, when the value of each countries arms exports are measured per capita, Israel’s amount to more than treble those from the U.S..

Aviation Week reports: In the competition to market weapons internationally, Israel ranks among the world’s top exporters.

In 2012, Israeli defense exports soared to a record of $7.47 billion, making it the world’s sixth-largest exporter of arms. The 30% increase in global arms sales—compared with 2011 levels—positions Israel’s total weapons exports behind the U.S., U.K., Russia, China and Germany and ahead of France and Italy.

“I wouldn’t speculate on our exact position,” said Shmaya Avieli, head of Israel’s defense exports agency Sibat, “but I could safely say that we’re well among the top 10 exporters.”

Meanwhile, Defense News reports: Israel is seeking a surge in future US Foreign Military Financing (FMF) grants not only to support its growing security requirements, but to offset the impact of increasingly advanced US arms sales to other counries in the volatile region.

In interviews here, US and Israeli officials said initial work toward a new 10-year military aid package, which would extend through 2027, is focusing on a full spectrum of Israeli concerns, including military modernization needs, new threats from regional instability and the erosion of Israel’s so-called qualitative military edge (QME) due to US arms sales in the Mideast.

Under the existing US $30 billion aid agreement signed in 2007, negotiators from both sides did not specifically address or attempt to calculate Israel’s QME security concerns in annual FMF funding levels prescribed by the 10-year package.

Those concerns — supported by US commitments to preserve Israel’s edge over regional adversaries — were dealt with in separate bilateral forums, with significant input by key congressional commit­tees charged with reviewing the regional impact of proposed sales, sources here said.

“QME, which pertains to Israel’s ability to defend itself by itself against any combination of Mideast adversaries, was always implied but never explicitly linked to long-term FMF agreements or security assistance planning,” said Dov Zakheim, a former Pentagon comptroller and undersecretary of defense.

Since then, however, Washington’s decades-long, de facto commitment to Israel’s QME has been codified into US law, and bilateral working groups tasked with laying the foundation for the new accord are taking a more “holistic” view of Israeli security concerns, said Michael Oren, Israel’s ambassador to the US.

“I don’t know how big of a role, if at all, QME played in the previous round of negotiations. But the nexus between QME and FMF has become stronger,” Oren said.

Oren mentioned “very large [US] contracts to the Middle East” that “raise the question of armies having capabilities similar to our own and how we make sure we can maintain our QME.”

Nevertheless, the Israeli envoy said Israel is not raising objections to such sales.

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3 thoughts on “Israel, the world’s largest arms exporter per capita, seeks increase in U.S. military aid

  1. Norman

    If Israel is making record sales/profits on arms sales, then let them finance their own industry/security without U.S. involvement or money. It’s time Israel stood on its own feet, without the help of the U.S. in any form what so ever.

  2. Ewald

    They are already getting some 8.1 million a day from the USA who has some 25% of its population living under the poverty level. It still wants more?


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