Israel is seeking a large increase in annual military assistance from the United States and has begun preliminary talks with the Obama administration on a 10-year financial package that would provide up to $45 billion.
During unofficial talks in recent months by working-level bilateral groups, Israel has asked the US to increase its annual military assistance by 50 percent to an average of $4.5 billion a year over the 2018-2028 period, Defense News reported, citing an Israeli security source.
Under the existing agreement that was signed in 2007 and expires in 2017, annual military assistance to Israel grew to about $3 billion a year. That deal was negotiated during the George W. Bush administration.
US President Barack Obama agreed in principle with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to increase the follow-on aid package to between $4.2 billion and $4.5 billion, the report said.
The money is separate from the nearly $500 million in annual US funding for Israel’s missile system programs in recent years. It is also on top of the US warfighting material held in Israel, which is valued at $1.2 billion.
Last week, the US House of Representatives Appropriations’ Defense subcommittee drafted the 2016 defense bill which included $487.5 million in funding for various US-Israel active weapons programs.
US annual aid to Israel has held steady despite cuts to a wide range of domestic and military programs in the United States, including reducing the size of the US Army to its lowest level since before World War Two.