US Set to Give Israel 'The Largest Single Pledge of Military Assistance to Any Country in US History'

Chris Menahan
Apr. 26, 2016

Despite the US being completely broke, 83 out of 100 US senators just signed on to demand Israel be given the "largest single pledge of military assistance to any country in US history."

From The Times of Israel:
A White House official indicated on Monday that the Obama administration was ready to offer Israel the largest military aid package offered to any country over the course of US history. Amid a push by a large majority of senators to increase foreign aid to Israel, a White House official told Reuters: "We are prepared to sign an MOU [memorandum of understanding] with Israel that would constitute the largest single pledge of military assistance to any country in US history."

The official said discussions with Israel were ongoing on a memorandum of understanding that would increase US military aid to Israel for the next 10 years, due to be renewed before 2018.

More than 80 of the 100 sitting US senators signed a letter Monday calling on President Barack Obama to increase aid to Israel and immediately sign an agreement on a new defense package. Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is not one of the 83 signatories.

"In light of Israel's dramatically rising defense challenges, we stand ready to support a substantially enhanced new long-term agreement to help provide Israel the resources it requires to defend itself and preserve its qualitative military edge," said the letter, which was seen by Reuters.

Republican Lindsey Graham and Democrat Chris Coons were behind the letter, which was signed by 51 Republican and 32 Democratic senators.

Republican presidential candidate Senator Ted Cruz was one of the signatories, while Sanders was not.

Due to expire in 2018, the current aid package stands at $3 billion annually, and, according to reports, Israel wants to up the amount to $5 billion annually. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has hinted he may wait to negotiate with Obama's successor to try and secure a better deal.

Israel welcomed the reports but did not comment on the status of talks over the deal.

Speaking to The Times of Israel last month, chairman of the Senate's Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs Lindsey Graham vowed to "do everything I can to squeeze some money out of a tight budget to help increase funding for Israel."

"Israel has to decide what to do and when to do it. But I can say this: we'll have more money this year than potentially next year, because sequestration kicks back in," he explained, referring to spending cuts the US federal government enacted in 2013.
An opinion survey performed in March showed 61.9% of Americans believe the U.S. is giving "too much" foreign aid to Israel.

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