Photo Credit: Moshe Shai / Flash 90

Two key Democrats in the US Congress have signed off on an arms deal allowing Israel to purchase 50 F-15 fighter jets and various munitions.

The fighter jets will not arrive in Israel for years.


US Representative Gregory Meeks (D-NY) and US Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) have agreed to support the deal, worth more than $18 billion, according to sources quoted in a report published Monday by The Washington Post.

Meeks, the top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, has refused to approve arms that he said could be used to kill more people in Gaza. Cardin, a steadfast supporter of Israel, is the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Both held up passage of the arms package for months, but according to the report, signed off on the deal several weeks ago.

The two top Republicans on the committees — Representative Michael McCaul (R-TX) and Senator James E. Risch (R-ID) — signed off on the sale months ago. Meeks, McCaul, Cardin and Risch are the four committee leaders who have the right to veto foreign military sales.

The next step in the process is State Department notification to Congress indicating the sale is approved. Although the four sign-offs were completed weeks ago, the State Department appears to have been dragging its feet on the notification of approval, for reasons that are unclear.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, 74, recently appealed to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, 62, to end the holdup on weapons deliveries to Israel, which has negatively impacted Israel’s deterrence in the existential fight against Gaza’s Iranian-backed Hamas terrorists.

According to a report published by the German BILD news outlet, Netanyahu warned that the reduced American military support, along with indications that the two countries are not on the same page, has encouraged Israel’s enemies — Iran, Hezbollah and Hamas — to continue their attacks, further escalating the conflict.

In addition to the F-15s, the Biden Administration is asking Congress to approve the Israeli purchase of air-to-air missiles and Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) kits, which retrofit unguided bombs with precision guidance.

It will take years for Israel to pay for the arms. The Jewish State receives some $3.3 billion annually in US military aid.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for, and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.