Israel: Ministers seal deal with US for $9bn worth of arms purchases

F-35A fighter plane (File)

Middle East Monitor  /  February 14, 2021

Israeli ministers approved arms purchases worth $9 billion with the US on Sunday, the New Arab reported.

The sizeable deal includes purchases of Chinook choppers, F-35 warplanes and aerial refuelling tankers, on top of a vast amount of bombs and munitions.

Although initially wary of the deal, due to the deal being paid for through loans from US banks, the Israeli finance ministry was overruled, possibly due to a two-week deadline imposed by Washington, for Israel to take the deal or lose its place in the queue in the US assembly lines.

Israel already possesses 16 Lockheed Martin-made F-35 fighter planes, and spent $20.5 billion on its military budget in 2019; a whopping 5.3 percent of its GDP.

This comes as newly inaugurated US President Joe Biden paused arms sales approved by former President Donald Trump and put them up for review, including munitions to Saudi, and a package of F-35 fighter jets in a deal worth $23 billion with the UAE.

These deals eat the time panicked the Israeli government, due to fears its military superiority in the region would be undermined by surrounding Arab countries possessing such technology.