Leftists, human rights groups threaten to disrupt Tel Aviv defense and security exhibition

The 8th annual ISDEF will bring officials and delegates from dozens of countries around the world and more than 250 exhibitors to Tel Aviv.

June 5, 2017 02:42
2 minute read.
AN EXHIBIT from the ISDEF Expo, which opens tomorrow in Tel Aviv.

AN EXHIBIT from the ISDEF Expo, which opens tomorrow in Tel Aviv.. (photo credit: ISDEF)


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ISDEF, the largest defense and security exhibition ever held in Israel, will increase security around its pavilions at the Tel Aviv Convention Center this week in anticipation of demonstrations by a number of left-wing and human rights groups.

A leader in defense, for many years the world has looked to Israel for security and intelligence and its defense industry, and the 8th annual ISDEF will bring officials and delegates from dozens of countries around the world and more than 250 exhibitors to Tel Aviv.

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According to a statement released by organizers of the exhibition, several groups have indicated plans to disrupt the three-day event, including with a large demonstration on its opening day, Tuesday.

One of the groups, “Stop the Israeli Military Industry,” has posted on Facebook that it would protest against the marketing of products and technologies “before the blood dries up.”

The group accuses Israeli military industries of marketing and selling weapons indiscriminately to conflict areas around the world where they “are often used to carry out massacres and genocides, as well as suppress civil resistance.”

Tomer Avnon, president of ISDEF, said the convention is “not a weapons exhibition” but rather an international convention that is done in full coordination with legal authorities.

Organizers say “ISDEF brings the relevant decision makers and practitioners together to enhance international strategic cooperation and dialogue [and] provides the ideal platform for international companies to exhibit their innovations to an audience that includes key figures from the security and defense industry, government and military officials from the international community.”

More than 35 Indian defense companies will be showcased at the exhibition to mark the 25th anniversary of diplomatic relations between India and Israel.

Meanwhile, three Turkish companies will showcase their products, marking the first time defense companies from Turkey will be participating in such an exhibition since ties between Ankara and Jerusalem broke off following the Mavi Marmara incident in 2010 before recently being repaired.

Several other Muslim countries such as Bosnia, Indonesia, Mali and Morocco also will participate, while officials from Jordan, Egypt and Malaysia are expected to attend the conference in an unofficial manner.

According to Sibat, the military exports unit of the Defense Ministry, Israel’s military exports grew some $800 million in 2016 to $6.5 billion, marking the second consecutive year of increased defense exports. The largest destination was the Asia Pacific with $2.6b., followed by Europe with $1.79b., North America with $1.265b., Latin America with $550m. and Africa with $275m.

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