Talks on U.S. Defense Aid Continuing as Usual

(Israel Hayom) Zalman Shoval - Talks between American and Israeli security officials on the next U.S. defense aid package for Israel are continuing as usual. While three months ago, U.S. President Barack Obama announced that he would not increase the defense budget, he has recently changed his position and agreed to increase defense spending by billions. Washington officials said this turnaround was the result of the geopolitical and strategic changes that have taken place. A significant number of items in the U.S.'s current and projected defense inventory are also on Israel's defense wish list. The defense package being formulated debates the numbers and types of system made available to Israel. As one who has been party to numerous successful negotiations with two American administrations, in four Israeli governments, I can attest that these issues have risen in the past. But the U.S. commitment to Israel's defense and security has never been questioned, nor is it questioned now. Israel must contend with a post-Iran deal reality, the turmoil in Syria and Iraq, and regional instability affected by Islamic State, Hizbullah and Hamas. Israel believes the situation mandates increased American defense aid that would allow Israel to acquire advanced attack aircraft, missile defense systems, cyber equipment and technology, and - according to foreign media reports - advanced countermeasures to fight the tunnel threat, as well as the means to counter threats posed by Iran's aggressive regional policies and the loopholes in its deal with the West. The writer is a former Israeli ambassador to the U.S.

2016-02-17 00:00:00

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