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Germany signs €3.5 billion deal to buy weapons from Israel

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman watch a video which shows the launch of the Arrow 3 anti-ballistic missiles in 2019.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman watch a video which shows the launch of the Arrow 3 anti-ballistic missiles in 2019. Copyright Menahem Kahana/Pool via AP, File
Copyright Menahem Kahana/Pool via AP, File
By Euronews, AP
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Israel's Defence Ministry confirmed the deal with Germany on Thursday, after receiving US approval.

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Germany and Israel have concluded a deal that will allow the European country to purchase the advanced missile defence system Arrow 3 from the Middle Eastern nation, closing negotiations that have been ongoing since April.

The deal, worth $3.5 billion (€3.2), was only concluded after receiving US approval, according to the announcement by Israel's Defence Ministry on Thursday, since the missile defence system was jointly developed by Israel and the US.

"The American approval marks a momentous milestone in the strategic relationship between Israel and the United States," Israeli defence official Daniel Gold said in a statement. "The joint program with the US on the advanced "Arrow 3" defence system strengthens our national defence," adding it will extend Germany's defence capability.

It's the largest-ever defence deal for Israel and one that could attract unwanted attention from Russia. Israel has repeatedly rebuffed requests to sell arms to Ukraine since the beginning of the Russian invasion in February 2022 for fear of antagonising Moscow.

But what exactly is Germany getting its hands on? The Arrow 3 is designed to intercept long-range ballistic missiles outside the atmosphere and is reportedly powerful enough to protect Germany as well as its neighbours. 

Germany has been pushing to coordinate a European air defence system with some 15 countries on the continent and launched the European Sky Shield initiative, open to all European partners, last year. 

Uzi Rubin, the former director of Israel’s missile defence program, said the Arrow 3 could be moved to act as a long-range ballistic missile shield for other European countries. He said it was the best defence available against the threat of ballistic missiles but is not able to offer protection against cruise missiles or others flying at lower altitudes.

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