Israel: Arms industry sees boom in war




Nov 16, 2023. Posted by  Balkan Periscope - Hellas

The escalating needs of the military are further amplified by 190,000 new applications for weapons licenses, with tens of thousands of rifles and pistols already distributed to civilians

A visit to the expansive manufacturing floor of Israel Weapon Industries (IWI,) a gun and rifle producer in Ramat Hasharon, unveils an unparalleled hive of activity and mounting pressure from all quarters. The production machinery has been churning tirelessly, 24/7, for over a month now, even covering weekends.

They're producing hundreds of Tavor rifles each day for IDF units stationed at the front lines, for equipping reserve units, and also personal firearms for the domestic market, which has seen an alarm-driven surge in demand following the horrifying carnage in the south.

These are unquestionably challenging times in the industry, particularly for firearms factories that are in high demand at the front line during this demanding and intricate period. A significant number of workers have been drafted for reserve duty, even as the demand from the battleground intensifies. Approximately 40% of the workforce at Emtan, the Karmiel-based arms manufacturer owned by Reuven Moshe Zada, and about 20% of IWI employees, under the proprietorship of industry veteran Sami Katzav, have been called up for reserve duty over the past month.

Both firms are striving to onboard scores of replacement workers to maintain the production and assembly lines' momentum, keeping pace with the accelerating tempo of Israel's battle efforts.

In the absence of this war, the personnel at IWI would currently be preoccupied with relocating their factory from the Elbit Systems compound in Ramat Hasharon to the industrial zone in Kiryat Gat. The construction of their new expansive complex, spanning roughly 23,000 square meters, was recently finished, and the workforce adjustments due to this significant shift have also been finalized.

IWI factory in Ramat Hasharon

Scores of employees from Netanya and northern communities have concluded their tenure at the company over recent months, and approximately 200 have been recruited to replace them - workers hailing from Kiryat Gat and the southern regions. However, in times of escalating daily demand for weaponry, it's not the ideal moment for a move. Hence, workers from the Kiryat Gat vicinity are being shuttled daily to Ramat Hasharon.

Across the nation, a growing number of individuals are equipping themselves with an array of armaments: handguns, long guns, compact firearms, precision-enhancing scopes. "This surge in demand indicates a significant void in the field, stemming from past government decisions," remarks Ron Pollack, Vice President of Marketing at Emtan, residing in a kibbutz a mere seven kilometers from the Lebanese border. "In recent times, we've hit rock bottom, practically zero. Currently, there's widespread panic, and everyone's rushing to replenish their stock and fill their warehouses."

Since the war's onset, the Ministry of National Defense has received over 190,000 requests for firearm permits, and in the initial ten months of 2023 alone, application numbers have exceeded 210,000—with the year not yet concluded. As of now, around 31,000 licenses have been granted. To provide a comparison, in 2022, there were 42,000 applications, out of which approximately 13,000 licenses were issued.

Ynet News