Israel Military Industries

  • Issue: April 1983
  • Designer: E. Weishoff
  • Stamp size: 25.7 x 40 mm
  • Plate no.: 53
  • Sheet of 15 stamps Tab: 5
  • Printers: Government Printers
  • Method of printing: Photogravure

Israel Military Industries, the pioneer of the country's defence industry, has a history going back to the twenties - to the days of the Arab disturbances, following the first World War, when it was essential for the Jewish population to arm itself with any kind of weapons in order to defend its very existence. Thus were born the first home-made hand grenades made out of concrete or sanitary pipes and the first primitive workshops for manufacturing explosives, concealed among the fruit orchards. It was from these very primitive and clandestine beginnings that today's sophisticated military industry was developed.

MI took a great step forward at the end of the second World War when Ben-Gurion sent Ml's manager to the USA to buy up quantities of machinery for the production of arms, at scrap prices. These machines, which were smuggled into the country under the nose of the British, enabled the Jews to set up an arms and ammunition industry while the War of Independence was at its height. The first sten guns, the mortars and their shells, the home-made aerial bombs, the Davidka' and other similar items are part of the history of that War.

Ml is an industrial complex responsible to the Defence Ministry and is the Israel Defence Forces' chief supplier of weapons and ammunition. It employs some 14,000 workers and operates 31 factories throughout Israel. Its principal functions are the research and development of weapons ammunition, weapons systems and military equipment for the IDF and the maintenance of a productive capacity capable of rapidly replenishing the IDF's stocks of weapons and ammunition during and after any military operation. In addition, the MI develops and produces weapons, ammunition and weapon systems for export and, on the civilian side, works in metals and chemicals.

Ml produces over 500 products including weapons, light and heavy ammunition, all types of explosives, rockets and all manner of weapons for the use of the IDF and, in particular, the Israel Air Force. In its own field, Ml is capable of meeting all of the IDF's international quality standards at prices which are generally well below those of foreign manufacturers - so much for peace time. In times of war, Ml's efforts are directed to speeding-up the production lines and getting supplies to the IDF as rapidly as possible and executing special projects such as the last-minute overhauling or modification of equipment.

Ml is organized into nine divisions, each specialising in its own field - weapons, ammunition, development and production of weapon systems, a central laboratory for Research and Development, etc.

Export has become an important part of Ml's activities and Israel today exports to 36 countries all over the world, even supplying know-how to several European countries. In 1981 Ml's exports amounted to no less than $325 million. Over one half of these exports, and those most in demand, were developed by MI itself, beginning with the "Uzi" submachine gun and ending with the latest armour-piercing anti-tank shell - the "Hetz". The MI has developed missile engines and produces and exports its own 290 mm ground-to-ground missiles.

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50th anniversary of Israel Military Industries