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Israel may seek additional U.S. aid

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Israel may seek additional U.S. aid
An Israeli border police fires tear as at Palestinians and international activists during a protest against the closure of Shuhada Street to Palestinians in Hebron, West Bank, February 25, 2011. Demonstrators shouted slogans against the U.S. for vetoing the UN Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlements. UPI/Debbie Hill. | License Photo

JERUSALEM, March 8 (UPI) -- Israel may seek an additional $20 billion from the United States to deal with the "historic earthquake" in the Arab world, her defense minister said.

Ehud Barak said his country will need to boost military spending in light of what's happening and may also seek additional security assistance from the United States, The Wall Street Journal reported.

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"The issue of qualitative military aid for Israel becomes more essential for us, and I believe also more essential for you," Barak told the Journal in an interview published Tuesday.

He called the revolts in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya and the Gulf "a historic earthquake ... a movement in the right direction."

However, Barak said in the short term Israel is worried that Iran and Syria might take advantage of the situation or that public pressure could push the new leaders of Egypt away from the 1979 peace treaty with the Jewish state.

"It might be wise to invest another $20 billion to upgrade the security of Israel for the next generation or so," he said. "A strong, responsible Israel can become a stabilizer in such a turbulent region."

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