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Israel will supply $5.4b missile shield to Germany

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By Julia Frankel
Jerusalem: Israel’s Defence Ministry has secured its largest-ever defence deal, selling a sophisticated missile defence system to Germany for $US3.5 billion ($5.4 billion) in a move that could have repercussions for the war in Ukraine.

Although Israel has long had close economic and military links with western European countries, the deal, which the United States approved, could draw the attention of Russia. Israel has maintained working relations with Russia throughout the war in Ukraine and has repeatedly rebuffed requests to sell arms to Kyiv for fear of antagonising Moscow.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, right, and then US ambassador to Israel David Friedman watch a video showing the launch of the Arrow 3 hypersonic anti-ballistic missile in Jerusalem in 2019.

Germany will buy the advanced system, coined Arrow 3, which is designed to intercept long-range ballistic missiles armed with nuclear or other warheads. Israel sought approval for the deal from the US State Department because the system was jointly developed by the two countries through the Israel Aerospace Industries and Boeing. Israeli defence officials said the system would extend Germany’s defence capability while strengthening the defence relationship between Israel and the US.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the deal “historic”.

“Seventy-five years ago the Jewish people were ground to dust on the soil of Nazi Germany,” Netanyahu said. “Seventy-five years later, the Jewish state gives Germany – a different Germany – the tools to defend itself.”

The sale still requires additional procedural steps by both Israel and Germany, including approval by both parliaments, according to the director of the Israeli Missile Defence Organisation, Moshe Patel. Patel told reporters the components of the missile system would be fully delivered to Germany by 2025, with the system reaching full capability by 2030. An initial allocation of $US600 million will enable work on the project to begin immediately and the full contract will be ready to sign by the end of this year.

Germany launched the European Sky Shield Initiative – a long-term project to create a European anti-missile shield – last year with 17 other nations, including the United Kingdom and Sweden, after the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

German Defence Minister Boris Pistorius welcomed the US approval.

“This procurement plan is essential for us in order to be able to protect Germany from ballistic missile attacks in the future,” he said in a statement posted by his ministry on X, formerly known as Twitter. He added that “the project also constitutes a signal of our special German-Israeli relations.”

Uzi Rubin, the former director of Israel’s missile defence program, said Arrow 3 could be moved to act as a long-range ballistic missile shield for other European countries. He said it was the best defence available against the threat of ballistic missiles but did not protect against cruise missiles or others flying at lower altitudes.

ly $5.4b missile shield to Germany
By Julia Frankel
August 18, 2023 — 2.30pm

Jerusalem: Israel’s Defence Ministry has secured its largest-ever defence deal, selling a sophisticated missile defence system to Germany for $US3.5 billion ($5.4 billion) in a move that could have repercussions for the war in Ukraine.

Although Israel has long had close economic and military links with western European countries, the deal, which the United States approved, could draw the attention of Russia. Israel has maintained working relations with Russia throughout the war in Ukraine and has repeatedly rebuffed requests to sell arms to Kyiv for fear of antagonising Moscow.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, right, and then US ambassador to Israel David Friedman watch a video showing the launch of the Arrow 3 hypersonic anti-ballistic missile in Jerusalem in 2019.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, right, and then US ambassador to Israel David Friedman watch a video showing the launch of the Arrow 3 hypersonic anti-ballistic missile in Jerusalem in 2019. AP/File

Germany will buy the advanced system, coined Arrow 3, which is designed to intercept long-range ballistic missiles armed with nuclear or other warheads. Israel sought approval for the deal from the US State Department because the system was jointly developed by the two countries through the Israel Aerospace Industries and Boeing. Israeli defence officials said the system would extend Germany’s defence capability while strengthening the defence relationship between Israel and the US.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the deal “historic”.

“Seventy-five years ago the Jewish people were ground to dust on the soil of Nazi Germany,” Netanyahu said. “Seventy-five years later, the Jewish state gives Germany – a different Germany – the tools to defend itself.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Berlin in March.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Berlin in March. Getty

The sale still requires additional procedural steps by both Israel and Germany, including approval by both parliaments, according to the director of the Israeli Missile Defence Organisation, Moshe Patel. Patel told reporters the components of the missile system would be fully delivered to Germany by 2025, with the system reaching full capability by 2030. An initial allocation of $US600 million will enable work on the project to begin immediately and the full contract will be ready to sign by the end of this year.

Germany launched the European Sky Shield Initiative – a long-term project to create a European anti-missile shield – last year with 17 other nations, including the United Kingdom and Sweden, after the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

German Defence Minister Boris Pistorius welcomed the US approval.

“This procurement plan is essential for us in order to be able to protect Germany from ballistic missile attacks in the future,” he said in a statement posted by his ministry on X, formerly known as Twitter. He added that “the project also constitutes a signal of our special German-Israeli relations.”
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Uzi Rubin, the former director of Israel’s missile defence program, said Arrow 3 could be moved to act as a long-range ballistic missile shield for other European countries. He said it was the best defence available against the threat of ballistic missiles but did not protect against cruise missiles or others flying at lower altitudes.

While Israel has turned down requests to provide Ukraine with weapons, it has sent humanitarian aid.

Israel has a delicate relationship with Russia, with which it coordinates on security issues in neighbouring Syria. Israel has carried out hundreds of airstrikes against Iranian military positions in recent years in Syria. Russia is also home to a large Jewish community.

By moving ahead on Arrow 3 with Germany, Israel appears to be counting on the fact that the deal, as well as a sale of a different missile defence system to NATO member Finland, involves only defensive weapons – and will not fundamentally disrupt cordial relations with Russia.

“Relations are a bit strained,” said Rubin, who is also an expert at the Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security, a think tank. “But still, we are not supplying Ukraine with any weapons. We do that because we want to keep relations with Russia at an acceptable level.”

AP

Article link: https://amp.theage.com.au/world/middle-east/israel-will-supply-5-4b-missile-shield-to-germany-20230818-p5dxnj.html
Article source: The Age

2024-02-22 05:36:48.000000

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