Israel Authorizes $9B Deal With Washington to Boost Air Force

YERUSHALAYIM -
IAF
Israel Air Force F-16I. (Ofer Zidon/Flash90)

The Security Cabinet approved Sunday the budget to boost the country’s Air Force by procuring warplanes, refueling planes and helicopters from the United States.

The budget, worth $9 billion of U.S. aid, was approved after a deliberation that lasted seven hours, according to Channel 12 News.

The report noted that Defense Minister Benny Gantz and IDF Chief-of-Staff Aviv Kochavi were in favor of the move versus the Finance Ministry, which opposed it.

The ministry objected to the deal, which would require taking loans from American banks that would be worth around $220 million, the report said.

However, due to Washington’s condition that the deal must be authorized within the span of two weeks or Israel would lose its priority to procure the aircraft, the Cabinet followed through despite the objections.

The arms deal would include SH53K helicopters, F-35 and F-16 fighter jets and thousands of bombs and advanced armaments, according to the report.