Elbit tells staff to keep away from France arms expo after company banned

Israeli defense company says won't let personnel arrive at the event 'like thieves in the night' and stresses economic incentives may be behind the French ban

Navit Zomer|
Elbit Systems instructed its personnel not to attend the Eurosatory arms and defense industry exhibition as individual visitors after French President Emmanuel Macron banned Israeli companies from presenting their booth in the exhibition.
According to a review by the Defense Ministry, French authorities won’t ban the entry of Israelis to the exhibition, which will open next week, allowing pre-scheduled meetings to take place. However, Elbit remains adamant about boycotting the event.
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דוכן אלביט בתערוכת הנשק "יורוסאטורי" בפריז בשנים עברו
דוכן אלביט בתערוכת הנשק "יורוסאטורי" בפריז בשנים עברו
Elbit Systems' booth in previous Eurosatory exhibition
(Photo: Elbit Systems)
Macron's decision came only two weeks before the event’s opening, while the companies had been preparing for months, and the weapon systems intended for the exhibition had already been shipped to Paris.
"It's a matter of self-respect,' a senior official at Elbit told Ynet. "We won't come in like thieves in the night. Our customers know how to meet us even without the exhibition. The decision to ban defense companies from participating is entirely hypocritical. It's clear that Gaza isn’t the main reason; we’re tough competitors to the French defense industry, and economic interests are at play. Everything else is only fabrications."
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עמנואל מקרון בנימין נתניהו
עמנואל מקרון בנימין נתניהו
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and French President Emmanuel Macron
(Photo: Christophe Ena / POOL / AFP, Ludovic MARIN / AFP)
"Why should the State of Israel allow French companies to participate in government tenders after this incident? The damage isn’t done by missing meetings, as we hardly sell anything to France – although the missile defense system on the French president's airplane is ours. The damage is done by the fact we've been labeled as lepers, alongside significant financial losses to us and other exhibitors in setting up the booth, purchasing flight tickets, hotels and participation fees. We intend to sue the exhibition’s organizers,” he added.
Israeli defense industries can take solace in the fact they will showcase at a major arms exhibition in London held in July, which, although it focuses on ground systems while the French exhibition emphasizes aerial systems, also attracts decision-makers and entities involved in defense contracts.
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