Israel Helping Europe Build Defenses Against Russia

(Photo: IDF/CC BY-NC 2.0)

Poland, Romania and Germany are turning to Israel for military hardware and intelligence cooperation. As national security risks grow, Israel is set to play a key role in building European defenses against potential Russian threats.

IDF chief Aviv Kochavi was in Poland last week for meetings with high-ranking officers in the Polish Armed Forces. Warsaw is reportedly eager to work with with Israel on intelligence sharing and military technology.

The sides already discussed operational and intel cooperation during the Israeli army chief’s visit. Following the talks, Kochavi publicly supported the expansion of military ties in light of “present and future regional challenges.”

In parallel, Romania seeks to modernize its military industry with Israel’s help. The Romanians want licenses to produce Israeli weapons locally and sell them to NATO allies, defense minister Vasile Dincu told Haaretz daily.

Romania is also advancing a deal to acquire Israel’s Iron Dome, and will be the first European country to buy the advanced air defense system if the sale goes through. Sources estimate that the odds of a deal are very good, the Haaretz report said.

Israeli arms sales hit all-time high

Earlier, Prime Minister Yair Lapid revealed that Israel will help Germany build up its military force, with a focus on air defenses. Berlin has decided to acquire the Arrow 3 missile defense system in a major deal, but the sale awaits US approval.

Overall, Israeli weapons sales hit an all-time high of $11.3 billion in 2021, the Defense Ministry said this year. Israel’s defense industries will likely break the record again in 2022 as arms exports continue to surge.

Israel is now a top military technology supplier for many countries, Defense Ministry director Amir Eshel told Maariv daily. He added that he visited about 15 countries in recent months, and that Israel signed many defense deals including secret ones.

Notably, European defense chiefs urgently visited Israel to acquire military equipment after Russia launched the war in Ukraine.