Croatia, Israel intensify military industry cooperation

PM Netanyahu's Meeting with Croatian President Grabar-Kitarović | Youtube snapshot

The Croatian Chamber of Economy (HGK) organized a business conference of Croatian and Israeli military companies through which both sides attempt to intensify their military cooperation, said sources.

According to Poslovni.ir, the conference brought together 15 Israeli businesses and 53 Croatian entrepreneurs. The director of the helmet manufacturer Sestan Busch, Alojzije Sestan attended the event, revealing that they are currently working with an Israeli company on producing military helmets.

The event took place in Zaghreb, and was attended by the war ministers of the two countries, Damir Krsticevic and Avigdor Lieberman. They both underscored what they described as excellent political relations, but insufficient economic relations. The Croatian war minister said that he had already met with his Israeli counterpart three times last year, explaining that there are big chances and potential for mutual cooperation.

Krsticevic signed an agreement in Israel on cooperation on disaster prevention and emergency response management in January this year. A second meeting of the two ministers took place in March, when an agreement on defense cooperation was also signed in Israel.

Croatian-Israeli relations improved a lot after Croatia helped fight wild fires that swept across the Israeli settlement on occupied Palestinian land Bet Guvrin. Also, members of the fire-fighting squadron went to the occupied Palestinian lands for joint training in accordance with a memorandum of understanding that was concluded in March 2017 between the two sides.

During his November 2016 visit to Croatia, Netanyahu expressed his gratitude for the country’s prompt response to the call for help, the rapid arrival of Croatian planes and the speedy inclusion in fire-fighting efforts.

In late September 2017, sources noted that Croatia will close a tender for the purchase of a squadron of combat aircraft, which was announced in July this year to replace its existing MIG combat fleet that does not meet NATO standards. Krsticevic said Greece, Sweden, the U.S., Israel and South Korea had submitted offers, which were now being evaluated.

He talked about training Croatian officers in Israel and expanding cooperation in cyber security. The Croatian Ministry of Defense will send two military officers to Israel this November.

According to sources, battle stations will be delivered successively by the end of 2018, but the army hopes that several Patrias will be equipped and fully armed by the beginning of 2018 when Croatian units will leave for NATO mission in Lithuania.