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31 Okt 2023

Tim Groves & Emma Paling, The Breach

Canada: INKAS accused of allegedly selling deadly weapons to Israel as protestors attempt to prevent its operation; incl. co. comment

"Canadian company’s Israeli subsidiary sold more deadly weapons than advertised"

A Canadian security and defence manufacturer with headquarters that were picketed by activists in Toronto on Monday had a subsidiary in Israel that sold a wider range of combat equipment than it publicly advertised and boasted of sales to the Israeli government, an investigation by The Breach has found. 

INKAS Israel’s now-deleted website said that the company offered armoured vehicles, vehicle modification and composite materials. But the company also sold cyber warfare services and remotely controlled weapon stations, according to an Israel Ministry of Defence document published in 2018. 

Remotely controlled weapon stations are attached to tanks and light armoured vehicles to allow soldiers to shoot weapons like machine guns, grenades and cannons from the safety of their vehicles at a faster rate than they could shoot manually. 

The deleted website confirms that both the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) and the Israel Police were clients of the company.

In Canada, INKAS has received nearly a quarter of a million dollars in grants from the federal government, as well as support during a trade mission to Israel...

The 2018 Israel Ministry of Defence document, which advertised Israeli defence products to customers around the world, stated that INKAS Israel was staffed by former senior IDF officers. 

“INKAS Israel has supplied the government of Israel with more command & control units than any other supplier in history,” the document said.

An INKAS flyer promoting its command and control units shows that they are used in vehicles equipped with surveillance gear like drones and thermal cameras. The units can be used as “mobile war rooms,” the flyer says...

INKAS is a global conglomerate with multi-million-dollar contracts that is headquartered in the North York area of Toronto. 

INKAS purchased the Israeli company Mayotex-Philcar and formed INKAS Israel in December 2016

The Israeli subsidiary’s website is now offline and its phone number is no longer in service. While INKAS products were advertised in the Israeli military’s 2018 guide to defence companies, a 2022 iteration of the guide does not mention the company at all. 

In response to Monday’s picket, INKAS chairperson Margarita Simkin released a statement inviting parties with questions about the company to reach out for a “civil discussion.” 

But when The Breach called INKAS headquarters on Monday, an operator refused to transfer the call to someone who could take questions. The Breach asked for basic information such as whether INKAS Israel was still operating. 

“I know, my darling,” the operator said, “but I’m not going to respond.”

A voicemail left by The Breach on Tuesday was not returned.

Simkin’s statement did not dispute that the company does business with Israel.

“The events that took place at our headquarters in North York, Ontario on October 30th, 2023, were unnecessary, misguided, and costly to our reputation as well as our well-being,” it said.

“Being primarily a manufacturing business, every minute of production time counts – we have lost hours. Our business has been unnecessarily disrupted.”...

The demonstrators called for an embargo on arms sales to Israel. They also said they were acting in response to an urgent call by Palestinian unions for their international counterparts to act to stop arms sales to their occupying force...

The company also employs a lobbyist in Ottawa whose stated purpose is to communicate to the government the economic benefits of exporting armoured vehicles to foreign countries.

INKAS has previously come under scrutiny for selling armored vehicles to the Colombian police, and for selling armoured personnel carriers to Azerbaijan, a country accused of torture.