Germany and Israel hold close diplomatic and economic ties, with Germany being one of Israel’s most important military and security partners in the EU. Israel is one of five most important military exporters for Germany and provided Germany among others with anti-tank missiles, drones and military radars. Israel and Germany established advanced cooperation around cyber security and Germany used among others Israeli spyware and surveillance technologies.
Israel – Germany Relations
Between 2016-2018 Germany was Israel’s most important economic partner in the European Union (fourth worldwide)Tel Aviv Deutsche Botschaft : Deutsch-israelische Beziehungen, with bilateral trade worth $7.19 Billion (2018).Federal Foreign Office : Germany and Israel: Bilateral relations
Israel is Germany’s second most important trade partner in the the middle east after Saudi Arabia in the first place.Ministry of Economy Israel : Economic Review 2014 Germany
Main Israeli export (worth around $1.52 Billion at 2016) is of chemical, electro-technological, mechanical and optical products.Tel Aviv Deutsche Botschaft : Deutsch-israelische Beziehungen
A report by the Israeli trade office in Germany from 2014 shows that the military arms company Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) was the biggest Israeli exporter to Germany.Ministry of Economy Israel : Economic Review 2014 Germany
In Israel and Germany hold first-ever Strategic Dialogue in Jerusalem, Israel. The meeting was presided over by the national security advisors and directors-general of the foreign ministries of Germany and Israel. Also taking part were the Director-General of the Israeli Ministry of Defense, the Director of the Mossad, the Director of the Israeli Security Agency (Shin Bet), and their German counterparts.Israel, Germany hold first-ever Strategic Dialogue in Jerusalem
In the same time Director General of Israel’s Ministry of Defense, Major General (ret.) Amir Eshel, met with the State Secretary of the German Federal Ministry of Defense, Mr. Benedikt Zimmer, as part of the intensifying military relations between the defense ministries of the two countries. Head of the Directorate of Defense Research & Development (DDR&D) at the IMOD, Brigadier General (res.) Dr. Daniel Gold also participated in the meeting, where future collaborations in the fields of R&D were discussed.Israel, Germany hold first-ever Strategic Dialogue in Jerusalem
Germany issued licenses for arms sales to Israel worth €1.6 billion (£1.3 b.) between 2013 and 2017.Between the years 2000-2019 Israel is one of five most important military exporters for Germany.Stockholm International Peace Research Institute
Israel provides mostly anti-tank missiles systems and drones for Germany, signing a trade-deal of around €1 Billion on a leasing contract of five Heron-TP drones in 2018, drones that are capable of being armed and are planned to be used in Afghanistan. The deal included the training of German drone-operators in Israel by the Israeli military. The deal was widely criticized in German politics by the German public. In December 2020, the German Parliament decided to deny the armament of the Heron TP drones.Why Germany’s Soldiers Are Denied Armed Drones
In December 2020, IAI signed a joint strategic cooperation agreement with the German company Hensoldt. The two companies will jointly manufacture radar systems for ballistic missile defense and participate in air and space surveillance projects. They will produce a long-range radar for use on the F124 Frigates of the German Navy.Israel Aerospace Industries and HENSOLDT offer Radar Systems against ballistic Missiles to Germany
In March 2021 Germany selected Israel’s Elbit to provide the German Federal Police with “XACT nv33” night vision goggles.Germany selects Israel’s Elbit Systems to provide police with night vision systems
In June 2021 Germany’s defense procurement agency announced that it acquired 69 “ELM-2180 Watchguard” mobile ground surveillance radards made by Israel Aerospace Industries subsidiary ELTA for $36m through the German company ESG. Training courses, training materials and an unspecified initial amount of spare parts are also part of the agreement.ELTA to supply ground surveillance radar systems to German Army
In 2022 The Defense Committee of the Bundestag approved the purchase of 140 armed Heron TP drones. The Ministry of Defense plans to use 60 of them for training and the other 80 for “operational use,” according to the project adopted by the commission. The total amount of the order is $166 million. The drones should be delivered within two years.Germany acquires 140 Israeli-made armed drones
Joint Military Drills:
“Allied Spirit” 2019, Germany – In April 2019, Israeli soldiers trained in “Allied Spirit 2019” with the Bundeswehr in a so called “full force exercise”.Bedrohung bei Tag und Nacht: Allied Spirit X – Bundeswehr
“Blue Flag” 2019, Israel – German Air Force participated in 2019 in “Blue Flag” joint exercise in Israel with six Eurofighter combat aircrafts.Israel completes multinational fighter exercise Blue Flag 2019
Air Force Training in Germany, 2020 – In 2020 Israel and Germany conducted a joint exercise between the Israeli Air Force and the German Luftwaffe in Germany. A total of 180 Israeli personnel was involved in the trainging. Planes included F-16 fighter jets, Gulfstreams surveillance planes and Boeing 707 tanker jets.Luftwaffe, Israeli Air Force conduct first joint exercise in Germany/
“MLCD20” 2020, Germany – In 2020 the German Armed Forces planned a joint cyber maneuver with the Israeli military, entitled “Multi-Lateral Cyber Defense Exercise 20” (MLCD20) in Germany, with units from Austria and Switzerland also taking part.New German military exercises with Israel
“Blue Guardian” 2021, Israel – In 2021 soldiers from Germany, USA, UK, France and Italy have exercised with the Israeli Air Force in the use of “live-fire munitions” with drones. The ten-day drone exercise happened at the Palmachim base in Israel.
“Blue Flag” 2021, Israel – Germany, France, Greece, India, Italy, the United Kingdom and the United States all sent fighter aircraft and personnel to Israel to participate in Blue Flag 2021.Blue Flag exercise has Israel’s enemies seeing red
- European Police Congress (NSO Group participated in 2020 congress)
- GPEC (General Police Equipment Exhibition and Conference) – seven Israeli companies participated in 2018, eleven in 2020.
- ILA Berlin Airshow – eleven Israeli companies participated in 2018 (e.g. IAI, Elbit, Rafael).
- IWA Outdoor Classics – at least two Israeli companies participated in 2019.
In the last year Germany’s interest in Israeli cyber-security products grew significantly, Data compiled by Start-Up Nation Central (SNC) show a significant German presence in the Israeli technology industry.Germans flock to Israel seeking technology
At 2016, in addition to a visit of Israeli prime minister Netanyahu and other ministers a joint declaration of intent on cooperation in the field of nanotechnology and cyber-security was signed between the Director General of the Israeli ministry of Economy and Germany’s Parliamentary State Secretary to the Federal Minister of Education and Research.Israel-German cooperation will include joint programs to support small and medium-sized companies active in the field of nanotechnology, as well as cooperation between research institutes from both … Continue reading
In the year 2017 a Israeli company named “checkmarx” was selected to run an Israeli chapter of the “Cyber Security Council Germany (CSCG)”. Later this year “CSCG” signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with “Israel Advanced Technology Industries (IATI)”.Cybersecurity Is Bringing Germany and Israel Closer
In 2018 the israeli Facial Recognition company Oosto (formerly Anyvision) took part in a pilot project of testing facial recognition technologies in a train station in Berlin to monitor and surveill passers-by.Surveillance laboratory Südkreuz
In 2019 German federal authorities bought the Pegasus spyware from NSO Group. The BKA federal police used the spyware. It remains unclear wheter German intelligence agencies also used the software.Germany admits police used spyware from NSO Group in ‘small number of cases’
Also Cellebrite’s phone data extraction systems are widely used by German State Police units. See more under “Usage of Israeli Arms”.
In 2020 the German pharma giant, Bayer, announced the set up of a cybersecurity development center in Israel, as part of the German multinational global cybersecurity operations. The new center will be one of Bayer’s largest internal cyber units.Pharma giant Bayer to set up cybersecurity center in Israel
Usage of Israeli Arms
Litening: Used by German Air Force on aircrafts “Panavia Tornado” and “Eurofighter Typhoon”.
- 2007: a pair of German Tornado aircraft flew reconnaissance missions over an anti-globalization demonstration during the G8 summit in Heiligendamm.German war jets against anti-G8 protesters
- 2007-2010: six tornados in action in Afghanistan for usage of aerial photographs and reconnaissance.Germany to Withdraw Tornado Jets from Afghanistan
- 2014: Eurofighter Typhoon aircrafts based in Amari Air Base in Estonia as part of NATO Baltic Air Policing mission. During the mission the Eurofighters scrambled and intercepted seven Russian Air Force aircraft over the Baltic Sea.German Typhoons have intercepted 7 Russian Air Force combat planes over the Baltic Sea today/
Spike Missiles: Used by German Special Forces Command on “Puma” armored infantry fighting vehicles.Puma AIFV Tracked Armoured Infantry Fighting Vehicle/
Heron drone: Heron-1 used by German Military in Afghanistan and Mali.German Bundeswehr renews Service Contracts for Heron 1 systems in Afghanistan and Mali
RecceLite aircraft recce system: Used on Tornado Panavia Aircraft, in use of German Air Force.Business Insider – photos of German Air Force Tornados in a refueling exercise
BriefCam Video Analysis: In use by Hamburg Police.BriefCam Presentation : Solution Overview – BriefCam at Work in Safe Cities
UFED (Cellebrite): German state police uses Cellebrite’s technology for crime investigation and customs service investigations.Mit diesen sieben Programmen liest die Polizei Smartphone-Daten aus Bavarian crime police unit purchased UFED from Cellebrite in 2018.TED Europa Contract Award Notice – Bavaria In 2017 Cellebrite was operated in a test-phase by the German Federal Office for Migration and Refugees.Bundestag : Request of Information IT usage in Bundesamt for Migration and Refugees.
Following German authorities purchased UFED from Cellebrite: Munich State Police (2015)TED Europa Contract Award Notice – Munich 2015 (2018)TED Europa Contract Award Notice – Munich 2018, Freiburg Customs Service (2016)TED Europa Contract Award Notice – Freiburg, Stuttgart Police (2019)TED Europa Contract Award Notice – Stuttgart 2019(2020)TED Europa Contract Award Notice – Stuttgart 2020 (2021)TED Europa Contract Award Notice – Stuttgart 2021 (2022)TED Europa Contract Award Notice – Stuttgart 2022, Lower Saxony State Police (2019)TED Europa Contract Award Notice – Lower Saxony 2019, Financial administration of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia (2020)TED Europa Contract Award Notice – NRW 2020, Leipzig Police (2020)TED Europa Contract Award Notice – Leipzig 2020
Human Rights Violations
A majority of German federal states introduced far-reaching new police powers, including extensive surveillance measures such as installing spyware to monitor mobile phones and computers or to tap into ongoing encrypted communication.
Civil society organizations continued to report discriminatory identity checks by police on members of ethnic and religious minorities.
Many states expanded in 2019 the power to use video surveillance in public places. Two states included the use of facial recognition in specific situations, such as identifying behavioral patterns used for committing crimes.
After the anti-globalization protests during the G20 summit in 2017 in Hamburg 168 preliminary proceedings were initiated against police officers for ill-treatment. By June 2019 there were zero indictments.
In regard to the abuse of migrants, refugees and stateless persons, authorities in various sttes continued to detain for up to 18 months asylum seekers whose applications were rejected pending their deportation. German authorities also deport rejected asylum seekers without advance notification. In March 2018 German authorities were holding 82 rejected asylum seekers pending deportation against the law. German authorities deport asylum seekers to Afghanistan against the “non-refoulment” principle.GERMANY 2018 HUMAN RIGHTS REPORT