According to a report from Israeli TV, Israel plans to ask President Biden to approve the delivery of a new laser-powered air defense system to Arab countries, including Saudi Arabia, as part of an effort to build an anti-Iran alliance in the region.
Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz recently revealed that Israel was working on military cooperation with Arab countries in the region, the result of the US-brokered Abraham Accords, which saw Israel normalize with the UAE and Bahrain.
Saudi Arabia is hesitant to sign a normalization deal but has quietly started forging military ties with Israel. The report from Israel’s Channel 12 said that Israel would like to deliver the laser system, known as the Iron Beam, to the UAE and “likely also to Saudi Arabia.”
The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday that Israel plans to showcase the laser air defense system, known as the Iron Beam, to President Biden during his visit to the region next month. The Israelis want the US to support the development of the weapon, which Israeli officials say could be ready to be deployed next year.
The US currently provides Israel with $3.8 billion in military aid each year. Of that amount, $500 million goes towards missile defense systems, such as the Iron Dome. The $1.5 trillion omnibus spending bill President Biden signed in March included an extra $1 billion in aid for Israel. Israeli officials requested the aid to replenish the Iron Dome after Israel’s May 2021 bombing campaign in Gaza that killed over 250 Palestinians.