The third-largest market for Israel is the U.S. and Canada, with $1.19 billion sales in 2012. Attempts by scores of Israeli companies to close significant security contracts in Brazil before the upcoming soccer World Cup and Olympics achieved little success. Overall sales to Latin America totaled $604 billion.
The area in which Israel is considered a pioneer—UAV technology—constitutes only 3% of the country's total defense exports. Yet, says Brig. Gen. Eitan Eshel, head of defense research and development, “we are still second only to the U.S. in that field.”
With the local defense market too small to sustain its industries or to maintain reasonable costs for products, Israeli industry sells 75% of its production abroad. Israel is tightening the monitoring of export licenses, but the defense ministry is constantly striving to declassify indigenous technologies and enable their export to reduce costs for the Israel Defense Force. The defense ministry also has 22 missions across the globe working to promote Israeli industries.
“We were able to increase sales in 2012 despite the global recession,” said Avieli. “Halfway through 2013 we're already at almost $4 billion in sales, so I hope we could repeat the achievement this year, if not even enlarge it.”