Germany on Thursday signed a letter of commitment with Israel to buy its Arrow-3 missile defense system.
This coincides with foreign and domestic criticism over Berlin’s pursuit to acquire the most advanced defense system.
Israel’s Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and his German counterpart Boris Pistorius signed Israel’s largest-ever single defense contract worth roughly 4 billion euros.
The German government would pay from the €100 billion fund special fund Germany created to boost defense spending in the wake of the war in Ukraine.
Gallant called the sale “a moving event for every Jew,” hinting at the Holocaust committed by Nazi Germany during World War 2.
Last month, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the deal “historic.”
“Seventy-five years ago, the Jewish people were ground to dust on the soil of Nazi Germany,” Netanyahu said. “Seventy-five years later, the Jewish state gives Germany — a different Germany — the tools to defend itself.”
Germany plans to start using Arrow in late 2025, with the system then being built up step by step. “We see from the daily Russian attacks on Ukraine how important air defense is in general,” Pistorius added.
The United States government on Thursday approved Israel’s request to export the co-developed Arrow 3 missile defense system to Germany. The Arrow system was developed and produced by Israeli Aerospace Industries (IAI) in partnership with Boeing.
Die Welt website quoted Frank Sauer, senior researcher fellow at Bundeswehr University in Munich, as saying that the Arrow 3 system is “impressive” in a technical aspect, but it launches medium-range missiles outside the atmosphere. This makes it unsuitable for defense against cruise missile systems or Russian “Kinzhal” because these missiles remain in the atmosphere.
Frank Cohn, another military expert from Peace Research Institute Frankfurt, told the website that strategically, this contract has no significant benefit.
Cohn considered that it would have been better if this amount was invested in purchasing defense systems that could thwart Russian “Kinzhal” missiles or in updating the current Patriot system.
The deal makes sense only in the political terms, he added, hinting at the nature of the German-Israeli ties.
Last week, Pistorius and French Armies Minister Sebastien Lecornu showcased contradicting visions regarding the development of Europe defenses during a joint interview with “Le Monde” newspaper.