Already the largest recipient of US military aid at $3.1 billion, the prospect of an increase this year for Israel was more or less taken for granted. Yet in the days leading up to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s White House visit the size of that increase continues to grow precipitously.
The $31 billion, 10-year aid package is set to expire soon, and initial expectations were that a $35-$40 million package would usher in the new decade of subsidies, alongside a multi-billion dollar one-off package as “reparations” for the Iran nuclear deal.
By late October, the plan had grown to $41 billion, a $1 billion annual increase, and by Tuesday Netanyahu was demanding $4.5 billion annually. This too didn’t last long, as just days later, Israel is now seeking a minimum of $50 billion for the 10-year deal, along with that sizeable one-off package.
Some US officials are downplaying the talk of such a hike, believing they’ll eventually settle back in the $3.6-$3.7 billion range, but with the Obama Administration desperate to end months of Israeli Lobby condemnation related to the Iran deal, there seems to be quite a bit of momentum toward giving in to anything Netanyahu wants.