A private Israeli bus manufacturer. The company develops, designs and manufactures different bus models including shielded buses and buses for transporting prisoners.
Merkavim’s armored bus, the Mars Defender, was developed in collaboration with the Israeli military. Israel Military Industries (IMI), formerly a state-owned company and currently owned by Elbit Systems, developed the armor in a joint project with the Israeli Transportation Ministry, Israel Police and Egged Company.
In 2016, Merkavim provided 71 “Mars Defender” armored busses worth NIS 106 million to Egged Company and to additional companies operating in the West Bank to be used in settlements in the Jerusalem area, in Mateh Binyamin, Mount Hebron, Gush Etzion and the Jordan Valley settlements in the occupied West Bank.
In August 2017, a Merkavim Mars Defender bus was documented in an Afikim bus line to the settlement of Kdumim in the occupied West Bank. Afikim operates bus lines in service of settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.
In 2014, the company provided 18 armored busses for settlements’ regional councils in the West Bank for NIS 28 million.
Additionally, in collaboration with Israel Prison Service (IPS), Merkavim developed a specially designed prisoner transport vehicle based on its Mars model. These buses are used by IPS to transport Palestinian prisoners inside the occupied West Bank and from the West Bank to Israeli prisons within the Green Line.
Merkavim also provided services to the Nachshon Unit, the operational arm of IPS that is responsible, among other things, for the transport of prisoners. In 2017, the company provided the covering of alarm units for escape doors for the IPS for NIS 4,212.In 2016, the company provided the modeling of vehicles for the Nachshon Unit for NIS 9,126.
A company's authorized service center is located in the Mishor Adumim Industrial zone in the occupied West Bank.