Showcasing Israeli homeland security technology

Published 27 October 2010

Next week’s Homeland Security International Conference in Tel Aviv will showcase Israel’s homeland security technology; Israel is already the world’s third-largest exporter of defense technology; in homeland security technology, it is among the Top 10 exporting countries; Brazil, India, Mexico, and Thailand, among others, are markets opening up for Israeli homeland security products

Generations of experience in fighting terrorism in a violent Middle Eastern neighborhood will translate into a lot of money and an important export growth engine for Israeli industry — this is the essence of the vision of Israel Export & International Cooperation Institute CEO Avi Hefetz, and the inspiration for the first Homeland Security International Conference next week in Tel Aviv.

Hefetz presents a long list of senior people in security organizations around the world, among them chiefs of police forces, defense ministers, and experts on securing airports, who have confirmed their attendance, and says the interest in the conference speaks for itself. “When it comes to counter-terrorism and securing sensitive sites vulnerable to attack, we have a lot to offer, and there is no reason not to leverage it,” he told Globes.

The conference being organized by the Israel Export Institute will last three days, which expects it to become a bi-annual event.

Given the wave of terror around the world and the warnings of huge attacks in Europe, Israel has something to contribute, the Export Institute says. “Our clear advantage in this field represents immediate business potential of more than $200 million, which we will exploit in the coming year, in addition to the extensive existing business activity in the field,” says Hefetz.

Globes reports that the main potential for deals is in markets hungry for high technology in area protection, most notably:

  • Brazil, which hosts two sporting events of global importance: the World Cup in 2014, and the Olympics in 2016
  • India, where the lessons of the carnage in Mumbai in late 2008 are still being learned
  • Thailand, which earlier this year had to contend with violent disturbances by the red shirt protesters
  • Mexico, which wants to expand its enforcement mechanisms for maintaining public order in the face of growing drug violence

and in other places. “This market will reach $250 billion in the next decade, and I want to see Israel in there,” says Hefetz.


In defense exports, Israel is already considered a power. Defense News last year ranked Israel in third place in arms exports, after the United States and Russia. In homeland security-related exports, Israel is among the ten leading countries, and the annual sales of Israeli defense companies are estimated at $1.5 billion. “This is a lot, and it could be much more. One aim of the conference being held by the Institute is to increase Israel’s share of national homeland security budgets by 15-20 percent,” says Hefetz.

About forty Israeli companies engaged in developing and manufacturing components related to homeland security areas will attend the conference. To expand their markets, many firms have converted classified military systems for civilian use, including Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), which is adapting one of its flagship products, the Heron drone aircraft, for border patrol and surveillance and for protection of sensitive installations (“Israel’s latest UAV — world’s largest — is no game changer,” 25 February 2010 HSNW). About a year ago IAI CEO Itzhak Nissan signed a $350 million deal to supply UAVs of this type to the Brazilian federal police.

The Guardium unmanned ground vehicle, developed jointly by G-NUIS Unmanned Ground Systems, IAI, and Elbit Systems, and designed to assist the IDF in routine patrols along the Gaza border, has undergone several structural changes in order to provide protection services to busy airports (“Robotic platform helps soldiers carry heavy gear,” 27 October 2009 HSNW).

Such vehicles are already in trial use at Ben Gurion Airport. Among other things, the vehicle is capable of accurately directing attack helicopters to the location of an incident.

There is no reason why we should not be a power in this field. The know-how, technology, and innovation are here, and it’s possible to make a large and welcome profit out of all this, because all these devices can prevent bloody terrorist attacks,” Hefetz told Globes.