Israel's defence minister made a robust defence of his country's position on the current crisis in the Middle East as he formally opened the Israeli pavilion at the show yesterday.

Benjamin Ben Eliezer, invariably known in Israel by his old army nickname, Fuad, told his audience that he was "proud to be here representing a country that, since our creation, has been fighting for peace."

A country that has the capabilities to develop and produce what we see here can afford a process of restraint in the use of force.


Israel had succeeded in finding peace with neighbours Egypt and Jordan, and until last year believed it had been very close to finding peace with the Palestinians, he said. Unfortunately, that had not happened.

Israel had faced continual terrorist attacks over the past nine months, had accepted the Mitchell and Tenet reports from US aimed at solving the Palestinian intifadah and was now implementing the ceasefire, despite continuing terrorism, he said.

Ben Eliezer, accompanied by deputy defence minister Dalia Rabin Philosoph, the daughter of assassinated Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin, toured the Israeli exhibit.

Surrounded by a scrum of journalists, Israeli industry officials and security men, he inspected the Socat, the Romanian-built IAR Puma with Israeli upgrades designed to transform it from a transport aircraft to an attack machine, before touring stands in the pavilion.

Source: Flight Daily News