State of Power 2021

Coercive World

Israel – a militarised state

Expenditure on arms and security

US$ billions, 2000–2020

Israel is the fifth largest military spender in the world in terms of share of GDP

Israel – the world’s biggest small state arms dealer

In 2020 Israel was the world’s 12th largest exporter of arms

Top 12 by exports

Volume of arms transfers (TIV* in millions)

But relative to its size, Israel is the world’s number one arms dealer.

Top 12 by exports per capita

Volume of arms transfers (TIV*) per 1000 capita

80 percent of Israeli military production is exported. Weapons make up 25 percent of Israel’s total industrial exports.

*TIV is SIPRI’s measurement for ams transfers known as Trend Indicator Values

Israel’s occupation and wars create a big market

Since Israel’s 2008 Operation Cast Lead in Gaza, Israel has exported arms to more than 65 countries in the world.

Arms exports from Israel

Volume of arms exports (TIV* in millions), 2008–2020

*TIV is SIPRI’s measurement for ams transfers known as Trend Indicator Values

Weapon export categories

Top 5 Israeli military and security companies

Products: Aircraft, helicopters, drones, ships, land vehicles, border systems, command / control / communication / computer / intelligence (C4I) systems, electro-optic systems, electronic warfare (EW), signal intelligence (SIGINT) systems, guns, bombs, missiles and armoured vehicles


Ranking: 28th worldwide. Israel’s largest arms producer.


Sales: $4.7 billion (2020); 16,575 employees


Subsidiaries: Israeli Military Industries (IMI), Elop Electro-Optics, Elbit Land and C4I, Elisra EW & SIGINT

Products: Satellites and space systems, missiles, aircrafts, drones, radar and electronic intelligence, command and control systems, cyber, robotics.


Ranking: 39th worldwide ( 2018).


Sales: $4.2 billion (2020); state-owned; 15,000 employees


Subsidiaries: Bedek Aviation, Elta Systems

Products: Underwater, naval, land, and air and space systems, focusing on EW, C4I, training and simulators, armor, precision-guided weapon systems and anti-missile defense systems.


Ranking: 44


Sales: $2.6 billion (2018); 7,000 employees; state-owned


Subsidiaries: Ashot Ashkelon, IMI Academy for Advanced Security & Anti-terror Training

Products: Small arms (Uzi and Negev sub-machine gun), sniper and assault rifles, pistols


SK Group, a private holding company specializing in defense, para-military & marine infrastructures has acquired a number of prominent Israeli companies including:

  • Israel Weapon Industries – guns, small arms
  • Meprolight – optical sights for guns
  • Camerotech – surveillance cameras
  • Uni-scope optical systems
  • Israel shipyard limited

Sales: Privately owned company (not known). 2000 employees.

Services: Private security, armed courier, surveillance, patrol


The private Israeli security group is one of the largest security companies in Israel. Along with Sheleg Lavan, Modi’in Ezrachi was contracted by the Israeli Ministry of Defense to operate privatized checkpoints along the Separation Wall.


Sales: $168m (2017); 1000+ employees


Subsidiaries: Moked Modi’in Ezrachi, Modi’in Ezrachi Secured Courier

Read the essay “Israel: the model coercive state”