US President Joe Biden, left, meets with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, right, to discuss the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, in Tel Aviv, Israel, Oct. 18, 2023. Photo: Miriam Alster/Pool via REUTERS

Israel’s military and Defense Ministry are set to open solicitations for Israeli-made military helmets and uniforms in a move towards manufacturing independence, Israeli media reported on Thursday.

The decision comes as the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) seeks to limit its dependence on the United States for vital military equipment.

The Defense Ministry’s Procurement Department is in the process of drafting a request for information (RFI) for Israeli-based manufacturers to describe their ability to develop helmet and uniform manufacturing facilities. In general government contracts, the RFI stage is then followed by a request for proposals (RFP), whereby prospective vendors would submit their bid to build the factory and manufacture the helmets and uniforms.

IDF helmets and uniforms are largely imported from US manufacturers, which has caused problems for the military during the ongoing war against the Hamas terror group in Gaza.

The outbreak of the war led to the call up of more than 360,000 reservists, causing a massive shortage of helmets. IDF guidelines prescribe specific helmets for different units, such as stronger ballistic protection, flashlights, cameras, and other specifications.

According to the Procurement Department, the sudden need for such large quantities of helmets led to a delay in delivery, the need to source from multiple parties, and an increase in price. This was the case for other essential gear, including weapons systems and ammunition that comes from the United States.

The push for domestic production comes amid rising tensions between the US and Israel over the war in Gaza. Washington has increasingly pressured Jerusalem, which launched the Israeli military offensive in Gaza following Hamas’ Oct. 7 massacre across southern Israel, to agree to a ceasefire with the terror group, scale back its operations, and allow more humanitarian aid despite concerns that Hamas leadership will steal it from civilians.

US President Joe Biden, who has supported Israel’s right to defend itself following the Oct. 7 atrocities, has adopted an apparent shift in his approach to the Gaza war in recent weeks. Amid growing pressure from Democrats in Congress to be tougher on Israel, the Biden administration has come out in support of a ceasefire in Gaza after previously opposing one. Israel has argued that a ceasefire without the release of its hostages in Gaza would allow Hamas to strengthen its position.

The White House also reportedly asked the State Department and the Pentagon for a list of all weapons the US is planning to send the Jewish state over the next few weeks. Other reports indicate Biden may consider conditioning aid to Israel if the Jewish state launches a military operation in Rafah, the last Hamas stronghold in Gaza and where most of the Palestinian enclave’s civilians are located.

Meanwhile, US Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on Thursday called for new elections in Israel, lambasting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as an obstacle to peace. The comments came after a group of eight liberal and progressive US senators demanded Biden stop military assistance to Israel. Schumer did not sign the letter.

A separate letter from Democratic members of the US House of Representatives argued an Israeli invasion of Rafah “should not be supported by US taxpayer-funded assistance” if it “runs counter to the specific principles outlined” by the Biden administration on necessary conditions to give aid — a situation they considered “likely.”

The IDF has been in urgent need of resupplies of ammunition. According to reports from December, more than 240 US transport planes and 20 military ships have brought over 10,000 tons of ammunition since the onset of the war, including those needed for tanks, missile defense, artillery shells, bombs for the air force, and handheld weapons for civilians.

Israel has made strides since the war to prop up its local defense manufacturing capabilities. Netanyahu said in January at a press conference that the country “is preparing the defense industries to disconnect from dependency on the rest of the world,” including investment into a “multi-year plan to free Israel from dependence on external purchases. We’ll need to equip locally, with a local manufacturing capability.”

Defense Ministry Director-General Eyal Samir added, “One of the lessons we’ve learned during the war is our need to boost our independence and industry. This is Defense Minister Yoav Gallant’s policy, and we are working on it.”



are you a developer?

  • Proven International Track Record
  • Vertically Integrated Federal Funds
  • Vertically Integrated Tax Credits
  • Vertically Integrated Investors
  • Vertically Integrated Lenders
  • Vertically Integrated Contractors