U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden is set to visit the State of Israel on March 7.
Biden’s two-day visit is aimed at reaching an understanding before the two countries sign a defense memorandum of understanding.
The Vice President’s visit comes after a statement made two weeks ago by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in which he said that if the U.S. and Israel cannot reach an “understanding” on the budget, it would be better to postpone signing the memorandum until the next president is sworn in. Netanyahu has asked for a $2 billion raise to $5 billion in annual defense aid. The current budget ends in 2018; but Netanyahu is looking ahead towards the research and development time it takes to put together the various elements on the military “laundry list.”
The prime minister said that more is needed in order to buy advanced aircraft and refueling aircraft as well as to develop anti-missile systems, intelligence equipment, cyber technologies and advanced tanks.
Senior U.S. officials have reacted by warning that America’s budget is not going to improve and that Israel will not get a better deal with the next president, regardless of who that may be.