Israel will submit an initial request to the Obama administration to increase US military aid to $50 billion for the next 10 years. Israel is asking for $5 billion annually instead of the current $3.1 billion, or a rise of 65%, sources in the US Congress are quotes as telling "Reuters." One of the sources said that the US Administration will not meet the request in full.
This latest report backs up an article in "US Defense News" on September 20, which said that Israel Defense Ministry hopes to increase Israel's annual military aid package to $5 billion per year. A previous report on August 26 by the "Washington Post" had described more modest Israeli demands of a rise of just $400 million annually to $3.5 billion, while in May "US Defense News" has reported an Israeli military assistance request of between $4.2 billion and $4.5 billion.
In any event, the enlarged military aid package being prepared will be added to separate assistance for anti-missile defense systems - the Arrow (long-range), David's Sling (medium range also called Magic Wand), and Iron Dome (short range) for which Israel received an additional $500 million in 2015, and an aid package for developing technologies to discover tunnels, probably $25 million per year.
As President Obama himself confirmed in a letter to Congressman Jerrold Nadler in August, talks between Israel and the US have been underway for several months. The current aid package is valid until 2017.
The reason Israel cites for needing more military assistance is the necessity of coping with the new threats presented by the nuclear agreement with Iran, "Reuters" reports. One of Israel's claims is that the lifting of sanctions on Iran will see hundreds of millions of dollars flowing into Tehran and the new affluence will increase Iranian financial support for Hezbollah and Hamas.
Representatives in Congress and White House officials stress that the Israel-US talks are in their early stages and that the Israelis have yet to submit a formal request.
A US official told "Reuters" that the Obama administration is unlikely to meet the request in full and that the two countries will agree on a compromise amount between $4 billion and $5 billion. The increase will help Israel finance the procurement of F-35 stealth fighter aircraft, Osprey helicopters, and other advanced weaponry. Talks over these purchases are being conducted in parallel.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on November 5, 2015
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