From Holocaust to Shared Defense: Israel Starts Advanced Negotiations to Deliver Arrow 3 System to Germany

Germany is in advanced talks to obtain the Arrow 3 missile defense system from Israel. Photo courtesy of Israel’s Ministry of Defense Spokesperson’s Office.

Israel started advanced negotiations last week with Germany for Berlin to procure the Arrow 3 missile defense system, the same week Israel marked 78 years since the end of the Holocaust. Israel and Germany have long been discussing the potential defense deal, which would see the European ally acquire the joint Israel-United States system designed to intercept long-distance ballistic missiles. The discussions come as European defense spending has made headlines in the face of Russian aggression over the past year.

Back in March, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recapped his discussions at the time with Germany about obtaining the Arrow 3, noting the significance of Berlin looking to the Jewish State for the anti-missile system. “In the Holocaust, the Jews were defenseless against Nazi Germany. Eighty years later, Germany is seeking to acquire defensive systems from the Jewish state,” said Netanyahu in comments published by Israel at the time.

“Then, we could not defend ourselves; today, we help others to defend themselves. What an incredible turnaround.”

Head of the Israel Missile Defense Organization Moshe Patel was quoted in the April 20 Israeli press release as calling the start of advanced negotiations with Germany “an important milestone, which further strengthens the ties between our countries. We look forward to a fruitful negotiation process in the weeks ahead of us.”

The Israeli press release noted that the Arrow 3 system is “one of the most advanced of its kind.”

Given the US involvement, exports to Germany will require US approval. Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) is the primary contractor developing the Arrow 3, in conjunction with the Israeli and US defense industries. IAI CEO Boaz Levy was quoted in the press release as saying, “The cutting-edge Arrow-3 system plays a central role in Israel’s multi-tier air defense array. We value the opportunity to share our capabilities with the partners and allies of the State of Israel. Within the framework of this agreement, we further deepen our security ties between Israel and Germany.”

Meanwhile, the Arrow 3 talks were not the only way Germany is working to grow its missile defense capabilities. Berlin was one of a number of nations represented in a parliamentary delegation to Israel last week to learn more about the Israel’s Iron Dome system. Part of the broader Israeli missile defense array, the Iron Dome intercepts shorter range missiles.

IDF spokesperson Lt. Col. Richard Hecht posted to Twitter on the delegation to Israel’s Gaza border region, in a response to a post from the European Leadership Network (ELNET) thanking the IDF for the security briefing. “For such a small country, we sure have a lot of experience dealing with threats from the air. We had the pleasure today of sharing some of it with MPs,” tweeted Hecht, adding later they are “Stronger together!”

Per Hecht’s post, nine different countries were present at the event promoted by ELNET, an organization aiming to strengthen Israel-European relations.

The Germany Arrow 3 talks and the ELNET visit come as Israel’s involvement in Europe’s missile defense is growing. Earlier in April, Israel announced an agreement with Finland for the Scandanavian nation to purchase Israel’s David’s Sling missile defense system for approximately 316 million Euros.

(By Joshua Spurlock,, April 23, 2023)

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