Israel’s Security Cabinet on Sunday approved the allocation of a $9 billion arms deal with the United States.
The deal, first reported by Israel’s Channel 12, includes the purchase of F-35 and F-16 fighter jets, SH53K helicopters, refueling planes, advanced weaponry and the Eitan, a new-generation armored personnel carrier developed jointly by Israel and the United States.
According to the report, Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz, Defense Ministry Director General Amir Eshel and Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi supported the deal, which was approved after seven hours of deliberation. Israel’s Finance Ministry opposed it, on the grounds that it would require Israel’s taking out $220 million in loans from U.S. banks—a condition that the ministry considers too risky.
The decision to purchase the equipment had been put off for three years, the report noted, but was made on Sunday as a result of pressure from Washington to do so within two weeks, or Israel would lose its place in U.S. production lines, which could result in a two-year delivery delay.