At least seven Israeli arms dealers are currently in jail in four countries - the United States, Russia, France and Britain - on charges of illegal arms dealing. Some of them are also suspected of crimes such as forgery, bribery, money laundering and violating UN Security Council embargoes.
Such arrests are briefly covered in Israel and then forgotten. But they have a cumulative effect that is very damaging to Israel's image, or what remains of it.
Even though it is doubtful whether those in jail know one another, they have quite a lot in common. All are men in their fifties or sixties. All are well to do (or were in the past ), having made most of their money in international arms dealing or in exporting security services and equipment from Israel.
They served in the Israel Defense Forces and reached mid-level ranks (from captain to lieutenant colonel ), and when they were arrested, they denied the charges. Friends who came to their assistance described them, naturally, as "the salt of the earth."
All seven are familiar faces in the corridors of the defense establishment, and at one time received arms dealing permits from the Defense Ministry. All sought to "expedite procedures" in violation of local or international laws, and did so out of pure greed. Due to this covetousness, they also fell into traps and can expect to face many years in jail.