TEL AVIV (Jan. 30)
Israel is approaching self-sufficiency in the manufacture of weapons to a point where “no embargo can harm us,” Yeshayahu Lavi, director general of the Defense Ministry said today in a radio interview. He stated that self sufficiency would be reached when Israel achieves the capability of turning out 60 percent of any weapons system at home. He said 90,000 workers are employed by the nation’s defense industries.
Lavi disclosed that the volume of Israel’s military industries increased by $70 million last year compared to the previous year, reaching a record total of $400 million. He said that Israel’s military exports reached $70 million last year and are expected to reach $100 million next year. “There is a big demand for Israeli arms abroad–more than we can satisfy.” Lavi said.
It was learned that Israel’s sea-to-sea Gabriel missile is in great demand abroad. Israel Aircraft Industries which manufactures the Gabriel has orders for the weapon amounting to $28 million. On the other hand, the firm has slowed down the production of civilian aircraft such as the Arava, a short takeoff-and-landing plane and the Commodore executive jet. The reason, according to informed sources, is that it has instructions from the Defense Ministry to divert workers from civilian production to military production for defense needs.