Israeli Official to Travel to US for Meetings on Defense Aid

YERUSHALAYIM -
Jacob Nagel, acting national security adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)
Yaakov Nagel, acting head of the National Security Council. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

The government is sending a representative to America next week to finalize a defense aid deal, the Prime Minister’s Office announced Monday.

The acting head of the National Security Council, Brig. Gen. (Res.) Yaakov Nagel, will head to Washington on July 31, for meetings with his White House counterparts, for the purpose of signing a new MOU between the two countries as soon as possible, according to the statement from the Prime Minister’s Office.

The statement said that Israel places great value on the predictability and certainty of the military assistance it receives from the United States and on honoring bilateral agreements.

Therefore, it is not in Israel’s interest for there to be any changes to the fixed annual MOU levels without the agreement of both the U.S. administration and the Israeli government.

The defense aid for 2017 currently stands at $3.1 billion.

Nagel said in June that the agreement was not a given. Israeli officials previously hinted that, if the disputes persist, they might await the next U.S. president in hope of getting a better MOU.

Netanyahu’s government was working to wrap up the talks with the Obama administration, Nagel told reporters. But he added: “When we conclude that we have arrived at the final (U.S.) offer, we will decide if we want it or not.”

Another sticking point in the deal has been a U.S. demand to reduce the amount of aid money – now 26.3 percent – that Israel can spend on its own military industries rather than on American products.