The Negev foreign ministers summit has created an infrastructure for future defense intelligence collaboration. The meeting at Sde Boker with Israeli Minister of Foreign Affairs Yair Lapid, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and the foreign ministers of the UAE, Bahrain, Egypt and Morocco discussed a range of civil and defense matters and it was decided that the event would become an annual meeting. Meanwhile Saudi Arabia is only watching from the side.
According to Israeli and other sources, the UAE, Bahrain and Morocco all asked Israel for defensive weapons systems. The UAE and Bahrain mentioned Iron Dome, the Green Pine radar system and the Arrow system for defense against ballistic missiles. These are not new requests and they have been passed on to Israel through various channels.
At least two of Israel's big three defense companies and two smaller companies have already received enquiries about procurement of Iron Dome and approval of the sale is in the hands of the Ministry of Defense. According to one defense source, a considerable number of the requests will soon be approved and Israel is currently conducting discussions with the US administration, which was party to developing some of the systems.
Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and Israel Aerospace Industries will be the main beneficiaries from Iron Dome procurement deals, if they materialize. Each Iron Dome system costs an estimated tens of millions of dollars not including the interception missiles, which cost $50,000 each.
Morocco, the UAE and Bahrain are only the latest countries to request air defense systems. Iron Dome is currently very much sought after in Europe, first and foremost by Ukraine, although according to reports President Zelenskyy's request was rejected by Israel. "Globes" understands that Ukraine recently re-submitted its request to Israel for Iron Dome, with full US support, but the request was again rejected.
Germany is also reportedly eager to buy Iron Dome and the Green pine radar system to protect Eastern European countries. The request was raised during Chancellor Olaf Scholz's recent visit to Israel.
Also raised at the foreign ministers summit were civilian projects such as connecting Gulf, Egyptian and Israeli gas to the Turkish pipeline to sell to Europe and building solar energy fields in the Sinai.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on March 28, 2022.
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