Samy Katsav, chairman of SK Group, which owns IWI, has made his fortune from defence industries.
Israel Weapon Industries (IWI), formerly the Magen division of the Israel Military Industries Ltd. (IMI), was founded in 1933. Formerly owned by the State of Israel, in 2005 the Small Arms Division of IMI was privatized and renamed IWI. Defence conglomerate SK Group now owns IWI.
IWI is one of the world's most famous and bestselling military arms manufacturers. The Magen division rose to international prominence in the 1950s, as the creator of the Uzi. Over 10 million of these weapons have been sold, netting billions of dollars for the company. Subsequent well known military exports have included the Jericho 941 semi-automatic pistol, Negev light machine gun, Galil assault rifle, Tavor assault rifle, and the DAN .338 sniper rifle.
IWI exports both the Uzi submachine gun and the Galil Galatz assault rifle to the Indonesian military. Both weapons are used by Indonesian special forces in West Papua.
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The Galil Galatz is the favoured sniper rifle of Kostrad, the Indonesian Army Strategic Reserves Command, and is made by Israeli Weapon Industries (formerly the state-owned IMI – Israeli Military Industries).The Galatz is also used by the Indonesian Navy's Kopaska (Frog Troop Command) and the Indonesian Army's Kopassus (Special Forces Command).
Kostrad soldier with a Galil Galatz sniper rifle
Kostrad platoon with Galil Galatz rifles
The Uzi submachine gun has been exported to over 90 countries. Over its service lifetime, it has been manufactured by Israel Military Industries, FN Herstal, and other manufacturers. From the 1960s through to the 1980s, more Uzi submachine guns were sold to military, law enforcement and security markets than any other submachine gun ever made.
Uzi's presence in Indonesia began with intelligence activities. Indonesia's nascent spy agency BAKIN was supported by Mossad (the Israeli Secret Service) which sent its instructors to Indonesia in 1968. This relationship has continued, not only with Mossad, but with the United States Intelligence Agency (CIA). In 1980, the CIA conducted five sessions of counter-terrorism training and VIP protection in Indonesia. To support Indonesia, the CIA connected the Indonesian Army and BAKIN with a US weapons factory located in Philadelphia. Uzis for Indonesia are sourced here, from factories licensed by IMI to sell Uzis in the United States.
Mossad and CIA instructors continue to support Indonesian intelligence agencies along with 'anti-terror' police unit D88, running training exercises at Jakarta Centre for Law Enforcement Cooperation.
The soldier second from right holds an Uzi