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Historic defense deal: Green light for sale of Israeli missile defense system to Germany

Washington approves the sale of US-Israeli developed Arrow-3 system

Testing of the Arrow 3 defense system (Photo: Israel Ministry of Defense Spokesperson's Office)

“The US government has approved the historic procurement of the Arrow 3 defense system to Germany,” the Israeli Defense Ministry announced on Thursday morning.

The agreement to sell the missile defense system, jointly developed by the U.S. and Israel, represents the Jewish state’s largest-ever deal at approximately $3.5 billion.

The deal was funded by part of a special budget totaling €100 billion ($109 billion) and intended to modernize the German armed forces, in response to the Russian-Ukraine War.

German and Israeli politicians praised the historic deal on Thursday.

The chair of the German defense committee, Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann, told the dpa German press agency the missile system “will be ready for action until the end of 2025 and, on our initiative, will become part of the European air defense system. In the future, it will help to defend Germany and our neighbors against attacks from the air.”

"This is a significant decision, which will contribute to Israel’s force buildup and economy. It is also particularly meaningful to every Jewish person that Germany is acquiring Israeli defense capabilities,” Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said.

The defense minister also expressed his gratitude to U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin for Washington's approval of the deal. 

Getting the green light from the U.S. was the largest remaining hurdle for the deal to be sealed, German state media Tagesschau reported. The final steps will be to sign a letter of commitment and obtain final approval from the German and Israeli parliaments before the full contract will be signed by the end of 2023.

The Arrow-3 missile defense system is designed to intercept long-range ballistic missiles and is reportedly capable of neutralizing non-conventional warheads at a safe altitude outside the earth’s atmosphere. It is a complementary system to Israel’s Iron Dome, which has earned headlines with its largely successful interceptions of incoming short-distance missiles from the Gaza Strip.

Almost two-thirds of German citizens approve of Israel’s sale of Arrow-3 to Germany, according to a 2,500-person poll published on Thursday by ELNET, an organization dedicated to strengthening relations between Europe and Israel.

Approximately 44% of poll respondents said that they support closer relations between Berlin and Jerusalem, while 42% support closer cooperation between NATO and Israel.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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