— presented as part of the 8 Days Campaign in December 2016.
Israel’s defense industry is one of the most extensive in the world, comprising hundreds of private and governmental companies which usually operate with no real government control, despite a law mandating oversight. Every year hundreds of millions of shekels from the defense budget are invested in marketing the defense industry, promoting collaborations with private companies, and positioning the Israeli industry on the global center stage. Some 80 per cent of Israeli defense production is exported, marketed to about 130 different countries. In 2015 this industry’s profits stood at some 5.7 billion US dollars, ranking sixth in the world, or first in arms exports relative to GDP.
The Israeli media often presents the defense industries as producing economic profits, progress, and good publicity for Israel worldwide, not asking any questions regarding the economic and human costs of these industries nor working consistently to reveal the many cases of corruption in this area. Many times, the Israeli media air advertising and marketing materials about these various industries. In dictatorships and regimes abusive of human rights, governments and other fighting forces alike use products from Israeli defense industries. From Sudan to Brazil and Sri Lanka, a great deal of blood is spilled thanks to advanced Israeli weapons, even today. Israel reached its position as a world leader in defense exports due to every new development being tested immediately in the Occupied Territories, so it can then be marketed as “battle-proven.”
None of this is mentioned by the Israeli media, which gives the defense industries a platform to present their wares, and even praises and glorifies their new developments and billion-dollar deals. From our conversations with leading media figures, it has become clear to us that reporters in the areas of military and security have very close relations with high-ranking members of Israeli defense industries. Many times they enjoy free flights to conventions, gifts, and even a peek at classified details. This way, Israeli public discourse remains oblivious to the deep effects of the defense industries on the national economy and on our lives as citizens.