For Medicinal Purposes

The Israeli Military Sector and the Coronavirus Crisis

Israel’s highly militarized response to the coronavirus crisis exposes the deep military bias that underpins its economy and political regime. A series of recent collaborations between Israel's military and medical sectors, facilitated by the military's research directorate, offers military corporations a way to benefit from the crisis and diversify their product offering.

The Israeli Ministry of Defense (IMOD), army and state-owned and private military corporations have been at the forefront of the Israeli government’s coronavirus crisis response. Their conspicuous involvement, hailed by the Israeli media as a demonstration of social solidarity and civic engagement, exposes the deep military bias that underpins the Israeli economy and political regime and the symbiosis between the civilian sphere and the military apparatus.

One of the features that stand out in the Israeli case is the conversion of military production and Research and Development (R&D) into a medical national business enterprise. Seemingly overnight, the Israeli Directorate for Defense R&D (DDR&D) was transformed into a medical technology hub, top secret intelligence units were repurposed into medical intelligence gathering bodies, and the largest Israeli military corporations became contractors for the medical sector. These developments expose the dominance of the military sector in Israeli commercial R&D and present new opportunities for military corporations to gain materially and symbolically from the crisis.

In this flash report, Who Profits will investigate the coronavirus-related activities of the Israeli military establishment and private enterprises, focusing on new initiatives reportedly launched by the three largest and most lucrative Israeli military corporations: the state-owned Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) and Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and the publicly traded Elbit Systems.