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By Arie Egozi
The new Director-General of Israel’s Ministry of Defense has understood what some of his predecessors refused to recognize – the war between the Israeli defense industries is causing them a heavy damage.
Last week, Maj. Gen. (Res.) Udi Adam, the Ministry’s Director-General, sent a letter to the heads of the defense industries, warning them that if the “destructive competition” between the companies does not stop, he would be forced to enable his authority concerning the matter.
I already wrote here some dozens of times about this unnecessary war, but the previous Ministry’s director-generals refrained from going into this matter.
Udi Adam has recognized that this situation could not prevail, and set to write the letter. It seems that he will be ready to implement his threat if the defense industries refuse to understand the problem.
I hope that Adam would go further another step, because it is not sufficient to put a halt to the Wars of the Jews.
World defense industries have realized long ago that only a shift in their activity patterns would keep them alive. The US and Europe are the best examples, as there the small, medium and even larger industries have been merged into giant groups, with power and influence similar to states.
Only in Israel this process did not occur. The privatization of the Israeli Military Industry (IMI) is on process for years. Every year it is promised that privatization is imminent. I hope they’re right but I doubt it. The Israel Aerospace Industry (IAI) can not operate at the global arena the way it would like to, because it is a governmental company with all the related restrictions. The company is even unable to conduct streamlining measures because of the workers’ committee that enjoys the backing of strong governmental elements.
There are three large state defense industries in Israel – IAI, Rafael and IMI. They could have been merged, at least parts of them, or privatized, long ago, but instead everybody is fighting against everyone, especially the government industries against the public ones.
At the same time another process, as severe as the internal wars, has been taking place. In the past, South Africa was a leading market for the Israeli defense securities. This relationship was cut following the termination of the white regime there, and today the South African defense industry manufactures systems that, in some cases, even compete with the Israeli ones.
Once an important market for Israeli defense industries, Turkey too has started an industry of its own, and today it competes with the Israeli systems. Other countries, such as Poland, have started to manufacture various systems, and the evident competition becomes more and more difficult. India has been demanding the shift of manufacturing to its local companies.
In sum, the world has become much more complex for the Israeli defense industries, however, internal conflicts prevail here.
And in Israel, as it is in Israel, there is no clear cut policy regarding defense manufacturing and export, and this has already caused the loss of several enormous contracts from the part of Israeli defense industries during recent years.
Indeed, Israel is still ranked at a good position among the world’s defense exporters, however, competition increases rapidly, and without a constructional change Israel might lose the position that it had occupied for years.
It seems that the new Director-General has decided to act. Israel is lagging behind because some of his predecessors refrained from dealing with the subject efficiently.