Obama Signs New Arms Deal with Israeli Prime Minister

The Largest Bilateral Military Aid Package in Our History


Doug Mills

President Obama meets Prime Minister Netanyahu for negotiations. Photo courtesy of The New York Times.

Wayne Chan, Photojournalist


Last week President Obama signed a new military package deal, Memorandum of Understanding, with the prime minister of Israel. By signing this deal our government pledges large sums of money to assist the Israeli military and help defend its country from hostile neighbors. This deal is the largest military aid agreement our government has committed to in our history.

According to CNBC the deal pledges 3.8 billion USD every year over the next decade, accumulating to 38 billion dollars. A significant portion of the money is going to be spent on the Israeli air force; improving their Lockheed Martin’s fighter aircrafts and missile defense.

The last pact, which pledges 3.1 billion annually, comes to an end in 2018. This new deal is a continuation of the support and commitment of the United States to its ally. Although the military aid is very beneficially to the Israeli defence, Israeli officials are not entirely satisfied with it (Business Insider).

For example, Israel can no longer lobby for more money in Congress beyond the 38 billion dollars promised (Business Insider). However, the most alarming part for Israeli officials is that in the previous longstanding agreement Israel was allowed to spend 26% of the money on their local arms producers. Now, the new deal phases out that ability to spend any money on local defense industry for the initial five years. From 1960 to 1970 Israel learned the need for a reliable local defense industry when France, their previous largest arms supplier, placed an embargo on them (CNBC). According to the Jerusalem post, because of this new clause the local defense industry will suffer. Companies will be forced to redirect efforts on US soil, or stay in Israel and suffer the effects. Such economic setbacks can lead to unemployment and other consequences. While the Israeli defense industry will take a critical blow, ours will flourish. Ryan Le (11) says, about the clause,

“It’s not a good idea because without a reliable defense industry, they’ll just be more dependent on US.”

Although the Memorandum of Understanding, the deal, has its downfalls, Israel’s security largely depends upon it. Recently, tension between Israel and Iran has further escalated. As reported by HuffPost Iran official Hossein Salami stated that they have,

“100,000 missiles that are ready to hit Israel.”

The financial aid United States provides for their military will certainly prove to be useful.

As for Obama the continuation of positive relations with Israel also benefits him. According to Business Insider, relations with Israel have been rough. The tension escalated recently due to the nuclear deal our government agreed to with Iran. By patching friction between the two nations, Obama can leave office without losing an old friend of our country.

An Israeli official referred to the US as their best friend, saying Israel,

has no better friend, no more reliable, strategic ally, no more important partner than the United States.”