France and Israel have resumed arms trade for the first time since Charles DeGaulle slapped an embargo on the Jewish state on the eve of the 1967 Six Day War, reports Ha’aretz. Relations between the two countries had been close until DeGaulle, who in a TV news conference a few months later called Jews "this elite people, sure of themselves and domineering," decided to shift to a pro-Arab foreign policy.
DeGaulle’s embargo has finally been lifted and in a way that shows how far Israeli technology has advanced since the days when it was so dependent on France. Israel has agreed to sell Heron TP, or Eitan, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) to France. It is the first sale of Israel’s largest and most sophisticated drone, which only entered service in Israel in late 2009. It has the wingspan of a Boeing 737 and can linger at altitudes up to 40,000 feet for up to 36 hours and can carry radar, cameras or missiles, depending on the mission.
The French embargo turned out to be very beneficial for Israel in two important ways, Ha’aretz noted: it led Jerusalem to turn to the United States as its major ally and weapons supplier, and it prompted acceleration of Israel’s domestic aircraft industry, which today is a leader in the development of UAV’s like the ones France is buying.