Report: Israel Turns Down U.S. Request to Give Old Anti-Aircraft Missiles to Ukraine


Guided missile equipment carrier (Hawk) at the IAF museum, in Hatzerim. (Bukvoed)

The Biden administration asked Israel for the old Hawk anti-aircraft missiles it has in storage, in order to transfer them to Ukraine, Axios reported Wednesday, quoting Israeli and U.S. officials.

Israel has so far rejected most U.S. and Ukrainian requests to provide advanced and defensive weaponry to Ukraine over concerns that such a move could create tensions with Russia and harm Israeli security interests in Syria.

Ukraine has repeatedly asked Western countries for such weapons to help it defend itself against Russian strikes.

On the other hand, Russia holds enormous influence in Syria, yet allows Israel to operate freely against Iranian activity there.

It was noted that Israel purchased the Hawk system from the U.S. in the 1960s to defend itself against Egyptian and Syrian airstrikes. At the time, the Raytheon-developed anti-aircraft system was cutting-edge technology. But in more recent years, Israel has turned to other systems, including the U.S. Patriot battery and its own Iron Dome and Arrow defensive systems.

A decade ago, the IDF took the Hawk system out of service. A senior Israeli official told Axios that about 10 Hawk batteries and hundreds of interceptors remain in storage in Israel.

A senior Israeli official said that Dror Shalom, the head of the policy department in the IDF, told his U.S. counterparts there is no change in Israel’s policy not to provide weapons systems to Ukraine.

According to the official, Shalom told his Pentagon counterpart the Israeli Hawk systems are “obsolete” and can’t function because of how long they’ve been in storage without maintenance.

But the Israeli officials say Shalom’s answer to the Pentagon’s request was not accurate. They stressed that while the launchers might be completely dysfunctional, the hundreds of Hawk interceptors Israel has in storage can be refurbished and used.

The Israeli Defense Ministry reiterated in a statement that the “position of the Israel security establishment [on giving military aid to Ukraine] hasn’t changed. Every request is being reviewed on a case-by-case basis.”

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