US and Israeli officials today signed a military aid package which will see the US give Israel $38 billion worth of equipment over the next decade. This is by far the largest single military aid package offered in US history, and US officials were quick to insist it could rise even further “in case of emergency.”
President Obama had sought to finalize the massive deal for over a year now, with the Israeli government repeatedly resisting accepting the offers, in hopes of bumping the amount up even further. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s camp has urged Israel not to accept the pact, suggesting he’d give Israel far more they waited.
While acrimony between Obama and Netanyahu did have some in the Israeli far-right government eager to wait just to spite Obama, there was also growing concern that if Israel refused to take $38 billion from Obama it would further politicize the issue of Israeli aid within the US.
Under the deal, the US agrees to provide $3.8 billion annually, and Israel promises not to ask Congress for more money without the White House’s permission. Israel can continue to ask for more money for “cyber defense” as well as tunnel warfare.
The other big change from the last deal is that it will force Israel to slowly taper off the amount of US aid used to buy equipment from Israeli companies, ensuring that a larger percentage is earmarked for well-connected US arms makers.