WASHINGTON: The US has signed the biggest-ever aid deal in its history worth USD 38 billion with Israel under which it will buy advanced planes and weaponry and boost the missile defense shield of the Israeli military, displaying "unprecedented commitment" to the Jewish state.
"America's commitment to Israel's security is unshakeable," US President Barack Obama said in a statement after the two countries signed the Memorandum of Understanding.
Obama said, "the new 10-year MoU on security assistance that his Administration signed with the Government of Israel is just the most recent reflection of my steadfast commitment to the security of the State of Israel".
By doing so the Obama Administration is making another "unprecedented commitment" to the security of Israel and the Israeli people, said US National Security Advisor Susan Rice.
As per the MoU, the US commits to providing Israel USD 38 billion in military aid over ten years, including USD 33
billion in foreign military financing funds and an unprecedented commitment of USD 5 billion for missile defence. "This marks a significant increase over our existing funding, and it will ensure that Israel has the support it needs to defend itself by itself and to preserve its qualitative military edge. This is the single largest pledge of military assistance—to any country—in American history," Rice said.
Rice said it is a reminder of the US' unshakeable commitment to Israel's security.
This additional funding will, among other things, allow Israel to update the lion's share of its fighter aircraft fleet, including the acquisition of additional F-35s and F-15s.
It will also enable Israel to substantially enhance the mobility of its ground forces, she added.
"As Israel continues to face the threat of rocket fire, this funding will help Israel to further strengthen missile defence systems like Iron Dome," she said.
For years, the US' funding for Israeli missile defence has been subject to the uncertainty of the annual appropriations process.
Some years, the amount of missile defence funding has been unclear for months at a time. Some years, it has even declined, she said.
The Acting Israeli National Security Advisor Jacob Nagel said the military assistance package that the US has generously agreed to provide Israel is not taken for granted and will help it shoulder the enormous defense burden that they face and enable better Israel – and enable Israel to better defend itself by itself against any threat.
"This unprecedented assistance will also cover a robust missile defence funding through the next decade for the first time and will help us effectively plan and develop multi-layer missile defense systems to counter the growing missile threats in our region," he said.