Israel seeks stronger U.S. aid package with F-35 squadron inclusion

By Andrew V. Pestano  |  July 16, 2015 at 12:17 PM
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JERUSALEM, July 16 (UPI) -- Israel will seek to increase the aid it receives from the United States, used mostly on defense, as U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter is set to visit the country next week.

Israeli defense officials believe certain aspects of the U.S. aid package may be strengthened, such as additional funding for the development of defense systems and the restocking of ammunition after last year's Israel-Gaza 50-day war, according to The Jerusalem Post.

An additional squadron of F-35 fighter jets may also be included in a future U.S. aid package. Israel will also want to improve its Iron Dome rocket defense system and its cyberdefense systems.

The United States delivers $3 billion of aid every year to Israel, which was set in a memorandum of understanding that runs until 2018. Israel has asked for an increase of up to $4.5 billion of aid per year for another 10 years for a new aid agreement, which may take months to negotiate.

Most of the U.S. aid delivered to Israel is used for military and defense purposes.

U.S Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter will visit Israel next week to meet with Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon. The two military leaders are reportedly close friends.

Ya'alon, like the vast majority of Israeli politicians, publicly condemns the nuclear deal reached with Iran by the United States, the United Kingdom, France, China, Russia and Germany.

"Iran -- which for two decades and for the duration of the negotiations, cheated and swindled the international system, strives for regional hegemony by, among other things, spreading uninhibited terror, directly and indirectly -- is now rewarded with a tail wind that endangers the world's peace," Ya'alon said, referring to the recent deal.

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