Israel concluded the largest military export deal in its history, after signing an agreement with Germany linked to Berlin’s purchase of the Arrow 3 air defense system, worth 4 billion Euros ($4.2 billion).
The German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius and his Israeli counterpart, Yoav Galant, signed a joint declaration of intent for the project, during a ceremony held in Berlin, Thursday.
Gallant, whose parents were Holocaust survivors, described the sale to Germany as particularly meaningful to every Jewish person and said it would make a significant contribution to the Israeli economy.
The Arrow 3 system – jointly developed by Israel Aerospace Industries and US Boeing company – relies on detecting, tracking, intercepting and destroying tactical ballistic missiles over a wide area, and is designed to protect strategic assets and population centers.
The system is scheduled to be an integral part of the German-led European anti-missile shield, designed to expand protection on the continent.
Some 19 countries have so far committed to the long-term project, which will establish a framework for intercepting different types of missiles at different altitudes.
The Arrow 3 missile defense deal strengthens Israel’s relations with Germany and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), while also underscoring its partnership with its most important ally, the United States, according to Yonatan Freeman, an international relations expert at the Hebrew University in Tel Aviv.
Freeman said: “With this agreement, Israel agrees that there is a potential increasing threat from Russia to Europe… This is important because it could affect the Israeli-Russian relationship, as Israel is trying to be neutral”.