National Security head: US not cutting aid

Acting NSC chief Yaakov Nagel says no truth to claim White House preventing additional aid to Israel - but quite the contrary.

Nitsan Keidar ,

Netanyahu and Obama in the White House
Netanyahu and Obama in the White House

The acting head of Israel's National Security Council has said reports concerning the White House's alleged refusal to increase military aid to Israel have been spun beyond recognition or simply misinterpreted by many commentators.

Speaking to Arm Radio, Yaakov Nagel described many of the reports as "ridiculous."

"I am conducting the negotiations intensively," he said. "My last meeting with my counterpart (US National Security Adviser) Susan Rice was in Washington and spanned several hours.

"We are in the middle of a long process in which both countries want the prime minister and the president to come to an agreement on the new aid arrangements for the next decade, in a way that will grant maximum security to the State of Israel."

"The prime minister is personally managing things in order to reach the the most positive conclusion possible for the security of the state," Nagel added. "What was released to the media today... there are no indications of a reduction in defense aid. We are talking about an American debate over the 2017 annual budget for missile defense - this is about the extent of additional aid."

Nagel explained that the discussions are completely unrelated to the military aid arrangements Israel has received from the US until now. What is being debated, Nagel said, is the possibility of implementing a separate anchored aid package specifically for missile defense capabilities - "something which has never been included in the memorandum of understanding."

"Until now the situation was always that the White House gave a sum (for missile defense aid) and Congress enlarged it. For the first time, at the initiative of President Obama and with the agreement of the prime minister, they are trying to anchor a sum for the next decade," Nagel continued. "Both sides agreed to do this in order to prevent a conflict between the president and Congress vis-a-vis this subject."

It is worth noting that all government ministers and senior officials have been banned by the prime minister's office from commenting on the topic - indicating that Nagel is most likely relaying Netanyahu's official position in order to refute the claims of a reduction in US military aid.