Merkavim Transportation Technologiesמרכבים טכנולוגיות תחבורה בע"מ

Head office: 22 Granit St., Caesarea Industrial Park 38900 Israel | Tel.: +972-4-6176000

A private Israeli bus manufacturer.

The company, owned by Mayer’s Cars and Trucks and Volvo Group, manufactures armored buses used in bus routes to settlements in the occupied West Bank.

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 now part of Elbit Systems, developed the armor in a joint project with the Israeli Transportation Ministry, Israel Police and Egged.

Until 2017, Egged operated an armored bus fleet of 60 vehicles that served settlements in the regional councils of Shomron, Gush Etzion, Mateh Binyamin and Mount Hebron in the occupied West Bank. In 2017, as part of the privatization process of Israeli public transit, this activity was transferred to Egged Taavura, jointly owned by Egged and Taavura Holdings (until 2021). In 2016, Egged Taavura and other companies ordered 71 Mars Defender armored buses from Merkavim to be used in settlements.

In August 2017, an Afikim public bus of the Mars Defender model was documented in the route to the settlement of Kdumim in the occupied West Bank.

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. The imprisonment of detainees from the oPt in facilities within Israel violates Article 76 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which dictates clearly that the occupying power must hold the detainees of such a territory in prison facilities within that occupied territory. Merkavim also provides services to the Nachshon Unit, the operational arm of IPS that is responsible, among other things, for the transport of prisoners.

Despite the fact Volvo has an agreement with Mayer’s Cars and Trucks that its buses should not be used for prisoner transport, Swedish media reported that three prison transport buses were produced in 2015.



The company is privately owned by Mayer’s Cars and Trucks (73.4%) and Volvo Buses, part of the Volvo Group (26.5%).

CEO: Nir Pozner.


Elbit Systems, Egged, IMI Systems.

All the information contained in this page is valid until Thu 12/05/2022