The United States and Israel have closed many of the remaining gaps in their negotiations over a new multibillion-dollar military aid package, and the two sides hope to reach a final deal soon, a senior U.S. official told the Reuters news agency on Wednesday.
Three days of talks on the issue between Jacob Nagel, acting head of Israel's national security council and leader of his country's negotiating team, with U.S. national security adviser Susan Rice, ended on Wednesday.
The current defense agreement between Israel and the United States remains in force until 2018, and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has been urged to accept President Barack Obama’s 10-year military aid package which reportedly includes a total of $145.8 million for Israeli missile defense programs, a sharp drop in financial support.
A total of $3 billion in defense aid is given annually, but Netanyahu has asked for an increase to $5 billion annually, in light of the greater need for security due to the growing Iranian threat after the nuclear deal.
Despite the disagreements, however, officials in Washington recently said they believe Netanyahu would sign the new memorandum of understanding with the Obama administration instead of waiting for the next president.
Rice recently promised Israel that the new military aid agreement between the two countries that is currently being negotiated will constitute “the single largest military assistance package — with any country — in American history.”