JERUSALEM — Israeli arms exports rose by 20 percent to $7 billion (5.3 billion euros) in 2012, according to defense ministry estimates cited by the Haaretz newspaper Jan. 10.
The increase comes despite the global economic crisis, which has seen many states cut down on weapons purchases. If confirmed, it would nearly match the recent peak of the $7.2 billion figure achieved in 2010 before a fall last year.
The defense ministry was not able to confirm the report, with a spokesman saying final 2012 export figures would be available only at the end of the first quarter.
Part of the hike is due to a major arms deal with Italy, which will see Israel buying Italian-made combat training jets, the paper said. In return, Rome agreed to make $1 billion in purchases from Israeli defense industries.
During 2013, the ministry expects to see an increase in sales to Azerbaijan, Brazil, Poland and Vietnam, and is aiming to increase exports to an annual $10 billion within a few years, it said.