How Israel developed the most technologically advanced military across the globe
Unlike its Arab adversaries, Israel did not have natural resources to fund its economy.
There was no oil or minerals. Nothing.
The delegation held a couple of meetings but was mostly met with laughs.
The Israelis were trying to sell oranges, kerosene stove tops and fake teeth, the New York Post reports.
For countries like Argentina, which grew its own oranges and was connected to the electrical grid, the products were pretty useless.
It’s hard to imagine this is what Israeli exports looked like a mere 67 years ago.
Today, Israel is a high-tech superpower and one of the world’s top weapons exporters with approximately $6.5billion (£5.2billion GBP) in annual arms sales.
Since 1985, for example, Israel is the world’s largest exporter of drones, responsible for about 60 percent of the global market, trailed by the US, whose market share is under 25 percent.
Its customers are everywhere — Russia, South Korea, Australia, France, Germany and Brazil.
In 2010, for example, ?ve NATO countries were ?ying Israeli drones in Afghanistan.
How did this happen? How did Israel, a country not yet even 70 years old, become a superpower with one of the most technologically advanced militaries in the world that is changing the way modern wars are fought?
The answer, I believe, is a combination of a number of national characteristics unique to Israel.
First, despite Israel’s small size, about 4.5 percent of its GDP is spent on research and development, almost twice the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development average.
Of that amount, about 30 percent goes to products of a military nature.
By comparison, only 2 percent of German R&D and 17 percent of the US R&D is for the military.
Another major contribution is the culture of innovation and creativity in Israel.
Israelis are more willing to take risks than other nations.
They get this from their compulsory military service during which they are tasked, at a young age, to carry out missions often with deadly consequences.
While Israeli 19-year-olds embark on operations behind enemy lines, their Western counterparts can be found in the safety of their college dormitories.
Lastly, Israel has been in a perpetual state of conflict since its inception, fighting a war almost every decade.
This reality, of having your back up against the wall, sharpens the mind.
It forces Israelis to be creative and come up with innovative ways and weapons to survive.
This is the Israel story …
Robotic border patrols ::
The Guardium is a part of a new category of robotic weapons known as Unmanned Ground Vehicles or UGVs. Israel is the first country in the world using these robots to replace soldiers on missions like border patrols.
In addition, soldiers require breaks, food and water.
All a Guardium needs is a full tank of gas.
Other UGVs in use by the IDF include the Segev, which is based on a Ford F-350 pickup truck.
Facing terrorists who use tunnels to infiltrate into Israel from places like the Gaza Strip, Israel is also relying on UGVs like robotic snakes to slither their way into underground passageways and enemy headquarters.
The robots will then map out the structures, giving soldiers an accurate picture of a battle area before the place is stormed.
The same is happening at sea.
Israeli defence contractor Rafael has developed an unmanned patrol ship called Protector which is being used by Israel to protect its strategic ports and patrol the country’s long Mediterranean coastline.
The Arrow anti-missile programme ::
In 2000, the Israeli air force received its ?rst operational Arrow missile battery, making Israel the ?rst country in the world with an operational system that could shoot down incoming enemy missiles.
Mini Spy Satellites ::
In 1988, Israel launched its first spy satellite into space, gaining membership in the exclusive club of just eight nations with independent satellite-launching capabilities.
From the beginning, there were those who doubted Israel was capable of developing, building and launching its own satellite, but in the nearly 30 years since that day, it has grown into a satellite superpower, now operating eight different spy satellites in space.
It is referred to in Israel as the “drone that can reach Iran.”
The Heron TP is Israel’s largest unmanned aerial vehicle with an 85-foot wingspan, the same as a Boeing 737 airliner.
It can stay airborne for 24 hours and carry a 1-ton payload.
The top-secret tank ::
To this day, the Merkava tank is one of Israel’s most top-secret projects.
It is said to be one of the most lethal and protected tanks in the world, and its construction started out of pure necessity — the United Kingdom and other countries refused to sell Israel tanks.