Defense Minister Ehud Barak will fly to Washington Monday, where he will be presented with a gift worth even more than his ritzy penthouse above Tel Aviv: nearly $1 billion in increased US aid for missile defense systems.
The US will provide Israel $680 million to further develop and build Iron Dome missile defense systems, and about $280 million for developing other defense systems.
The deal was authorized by the Senate Armed Service Committee last month, and will be declared official in a joined press conference with Defense Minister Ehud Barak and US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta.
Last month Barak said the aid provided by Washington would allow for Israel to complete the purchase of 10 Iron Dome anti-rocket batteries.
Past assessments have found that Israel would need a total of 13 active systems to effectively defend most of the country from short-range missile attacks.
Aid will also be provided toward the development of two other anti missile defense systems, the mid-range interceptor Magic Wand system and the long-range Arrow defense system.
The total aid for further development and purchase of these systems would be just shy of $280 million.
Barak is set to leave for Washington on Monday, his second official visit in the past month. He is scheduled to meet with his counterpart and other US officials, in order to finalize the military aid and discuss other issues including Iran’s nuclear program and Israel’s recently formed unity government.