Conference to showcase Israeli homeland security capability

Israel Export Institute puts high hopes on getting Israel a larger slice of the global market.

By YUVAL AZULAI
October 26, 2010 23:36
3 minute read.
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subway security 58. (photo credit: AP)

 
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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 – that 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.

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“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, which is being organized by the Israel Export Institute will last three days and is expected 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, according to the Export Institute.

“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,” said Hefetz.

The main potential for deals is that markets are hungry for high technology in area protection, most notably the Brazilian market, which is hosting two sporting events of global importance: the World Cup in 2014, and the Olympics in 2016. Israeli experience is also in high demand in India, where they are still learning the lessons of the multiple carnage in Mumbai in late 2008; in Thailand, which earlier this year had to contend with violent disturbances by the red shirt protesters; in Mexico, which wants to expand its enforcement mechanisms for maintaining public order in the light of the chaos across the country; and in other places.



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

In defense exports, Israel is already considered a power. Defense News magazine ranked Israel in third place last year for arms exports, after the US and Russia. In homeland security-related exports, Israel is among the 10 leading countries, and the annual sales of Israeli defense companies are estimated at $1.5b.

“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,” said Hefetz.

About 40 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. About a year ago IAI CEO Itzhak Nissan signed a $350m.

deal to supply unmanned aerial vehicles 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. 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,” said Hefetz.

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