This statue by the United Nations HQ in New York City expresses the biblical vision of “beating swords into plowshares.” An Israeli industrial powerhouse is also seeking to transition from military to civilian applications.
Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), Israel’s largest industrial exporter, whose current product mix is 70% military and 30% civilian, is seeking to enter the clean energy market, IAI’s chairman Yair Shamir told the Globes business newspaper.
In an interview published last week under a catchy title (“IAI wants to sell plowshares”) Shamir defended the company’s military sales to Turkey and Russia, but expressed hope that in these and other markets: “IAI will get into new civilian areas, and then the sky is the limit. Then there will be no more political restrictions.”
In particular, he noted: ” I’m thinking of clean energy, large turbines, alternative energy in general, water desalination techniques. In my view, the main theme should be big projects with high entry barriers of manpower and finance. These and other areas are characterized by fewer political barriers, and that is what is attractive about them. Military projects are always wrapped in political considerations.
“I seek a new layer of activity for IAI, after the blow our civilian aircraft market sustained because of the latest financial crisis. At one time, we were not far from equilibrium between our military and civilian activities, but we have fallen back to a ratio of 70:30. I hope we will regain equilibrium, and we have decided to press ahead in green energy and large civilian projects.”
(The IAI chairman happens to be the son of former Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Shamir – a hardliner who was not apt to express biblical images of beating swords into plowshares, but won respect for his integrity.)
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