Israel approves US $ 9 billion purchase of advanced aircraft and weapons
(February 8, 2021 / JNS) The Israeli security cabinet on Sunday approved the award of a $ 9 billion arms contract with the United States.
The deal, first reported by Israel Channel 12, includes the purchase of F-35 and F-16 fighter jets, SH53K helicopters, refueling planes, advanced weapons and the Eitan, a new generation armored personnel carrier developed jointly by Israel and the United States.
According to the report, Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz, Defense Ministry Director General Amir Eshel and Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Aviv Kochavi supported the agreement, which was approved after seven hours of deliberation. Israel’s finance ministry opposed it on the grounds that it would require Israel to take out $ 220 million in loans from US banks, a condition the ministry considers too risky.
The decision to buy the equipment had been postponed for three years, the report noted, but was taken on Sunday following pressure from Washington to do so within two weeks, otherwise Israel would lose its place in the chains. American production, which could lead to a two-year delivery time.