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The Israeli defense industries have been encountering more and more obstacles when they offer their products to foreign countries.

The international defense market is changing fast and Israel is not adapting in the right pace.

Last year, the Israeli Ministry of Defense eased some of the export restrictions on defense systems. The new regulations have been approved by the Israeli parliament defense and foreign affairs committee.

This was a first step in a new across the board export policy aimed at allowing the Israeli defense industries to compete in the international market.

The reform has to bring to a point where the defense industries will get more permits to export their products. The reform is also aimed at allowing the industries to display their systems in foreign countries and transfer technologies.

The new regulations still limit the transfer of sensitive technologies to certain countries. The Israeli Ministry of Defense export control unit operates according to lists of countries that are sensitive or less sensitive when it comes to selling them certain defense systems. These lists are reviewed periodically.

These lists take into account the various Israeli interests in different parts of the world.

The first step was made and that was welcomed by the industries, but the reality is changing very fast and additional steps are needed .

Countries like Turkey, China, Iran and Poland, not to mention Western European countries,  have invested in their defense industries and now they offer a long list of products carrying very competitive price tags.

In many cases the products are less advanced than the Israeli ones but most of the potential clients do not need the highest quality because they are not challenged by an immediate threat.

Only a full reform will help the Israeli defense industries to keep their edge, that is dependant on the R&D budget that comes from sales and profits.

Arie Egozi
iHLS editor-in-chief