A total of 220 licensed weapons-exporting companies currently operate across the world and sell various kinds of military equipment on behalf of the State of Israel, a study conducted by the University of Derby revealed.
The companies are being supervised by Sibat – the Foreign Defense Assistance and Defense Export Organization of the Israeli Ministry of Defense.
Among the licensed sales agents are former politicians and well-known business figures, who receive a "CEO permit" to trade in weapons. The exported products include aircraft engines and engine parts, missiles, battleships, cannons, tanks, medical equipment for combat units and bulletproof vests.
According to estimations, the licensed agents' activities generate hundreds of millions of dollars a year.
The study also reveals that many military attaches at Israeli embassies across the world are involved in weapon sales through Sibat, and some later become sales agents for large weapon companies or work as freelance agents.
Sibat organizes visits by foreign army commanders, some accompanied by intermediaries, as well as arms fairs in order to encourage transactions. The study reveals that Sibat often invites foreign officials whose countries have no diplomatic or business relations with Israel.
In the past, Israel struck weapons deals with countries such as Ecuador, Mexico, Angola, Ghana, Togo, Liberia and Nigeria. In some of the transactions, the agents made tens of millions of dollars by acting as intermediaries.
According to the study, most of the transactions are reported to the American government. However, in a number of cases Sibat finds it difficult to keep track of transactions conducted with third parties that purchase equipment on behalf of parties Israel does not wish to trade with.
The Ministry of Defense declined comment on the study.