US cuts military aid to Israel by five percent
search

US cuts military aid to Israel by five percent

Measure is part of across-the-board spending cuts; reduction expected to affect F-35 purchases, joint exercises

Former defense minister Ehud Barak, center, speaks to US soldiers during a joint Israeli-hosted military exercise, October 23, 2012 (photo credit: Lior Mizrahi/Flash90/File)
Former defense minister Ehud Barak, center, speaks to US soldiers during a joint Israeli-hosted military exercise, October 23, 2012 (photo credit: Lior Mizrahi/Flash90/File)

The US will cut five percent, or $175 million, from its annual military aid package to Israel as part of across-the-board budgetary spending cuts, a Hebrew daily reported Friday.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had instructed Israeli officials in Washington, DC, to not ask the US government for an exception from the fiscal measures, according to Maariv. US military aid to Israel is currently set at $3.1 billion per year.

Speaking in DC, Ambassador Michael Oren said Thursday, “Israel did not seek an exception. We are willing to share in the burden.”

In Jerusalem, officials who were expecting larger cuts in aid, to the tune of half a billion dollars, breathed a sigh of relief.

The planned cuts will likely affect Israel’s ability to purchase advanced F-35 stealth fighters, according to the report, 19 of which were supposed to be delivered by the US in 2016. Because of budgetary cuts in Washington, the Pentagon has slashed production of the F-35s, from 2,500 to 1,200 planes, thereby making each fighter more expensive.

The cuts are expected to affect future joint military exercises between the two countries, and funds for joint missile defense development programs — except for Iron Dome — will be cut, reported Maariv.

News of the planned cuts comes as Israel faces a rising threat from the two-year-old Syrian civil war, with Syrian President Bashar Assad and Iranian proxy Hezbollah threatening to open a new front on the Golan Heights.

Join us!
A message from the Editor of Times of Israel
David Horovitz

The Times of Israel covers one of the most complicated, and contentious, parts of the world. Determined to keep readers fully informed and enable them to form and flesh out their own opinions, The Times of Israel has gradually established itself as the leading source of independent and fair-minded journalism on Israel, the region and the Jewish world.

We've achieved this by investing ever-greater resources in our journalism while keeping all of the content on our site free.

Unlike many other news sites, we have not put up a paywall. But we would like to invite readers who can afford to do so, and for whom The Times of Israel has become important, to help support our journalism by joining The Times of Israel Community. Join now and for as little as $6 a month you can both help ensure our ongoing investment in quality journalism, and enjoy special status and benefits as a Times of Israel Community member.

Become a member of The Times of Israel Community
read more:
comments