Israel has been requesting between $4.2 billion to $4.5 billion of military aid from the United States each year for the next 10 years in talks that began prior to the Iran nuclear deal’s passage. Israel currently receives $3 billion a year in U.S. military aid.
|Adapted from Illustrations by David Goehring and DonkeyHotey.|
U.S. Offers to Help Israel Bolster Defenses, Yet Iran Nuclear Deal Leaves Ally Uneasy
By Julie Davis and Matthew Rosenberg
When President Obama called Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday to discuss the nuclear deal with Iran, the American president offered the Israeli leader, who had just deemed the agreement a “historic mistake,” a consolation prize: a fattening of the already generous military aid package the United States gives Israel.
RELATED STORY: No "Compensation" to Israel for Iran DealThe nuclear agreement, which would lift sanctions on Iran in exchange for restrictions designed to prevent it from developing a nuclear weapon, would ultimately provide a financial windfall to Israel’s sworn enemy in the region, and Mr. Obama said he was prepared to hold “intensive discussions” with Mr. Netanyahu on what more could be done to bolster Israel’s defenses, administration officials said.
But, as in previous talks with Mr. Obama, Mr. Netanyahu refused to engage in such talk “at this juncture,” the officials said, speaking on the condition of anonymity to detail the private discussions. And on Tuesday, as administration officials fanned out to make the case for the Iran agreement, one aide suggested in a phone call to Jewish and pro-Israel groups that Mr. Netanyahu had rebuffed their overtures because he believes accepting them now would be tantamount to blessing the nuclear deal, say people involved in the call who did not want to be quoted by name in describing it.
“The idea that somehow Israel would be compensated for this deal in the way the Gulf states would be is rejected by this prime minister as signaling that he is somehow silently acquiescing to it,” said David Makovsky, a fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. “The negative optic would be, he is being bought off from his principled opposition. He sees any package now as muddying what he sees as the moral clarity of his objection.”
In Israel, the question was not whether the deal would be followed by a robust new military aid package from Washington, but rather when such discussions would commence and what might be on the shopping list. Isaac Herzog, the leader of the opposition in Parliament, said Tuesday night that he would soon travel to the United States “to advance a package of security measures to suit the new situation.”