Ministers approve $9 billion purchase of aircraft, arms from US

After a three-year delay, a ministerial committee on Sunday approved a major arms deal with the US to supply the Israeli Air Force with numerous aircraft and munitions.

The deal will see the military purchase fighter jets, helicopters, refueling planes and arms to the tune of $9 billion.

Much of the funding will come from US aid to Israel, but the deal will necessitate loans from American banks, the interest of which will cost the Israeli government some NIS 200 million ($60 million).

The Finance Ministry had opposed the financing plan due to the interest payment, citing budgetary concerns, but was overruled.

According to Channel 12 News, Washington had set a deadline for Israel to approve the deal in the next two weeks or lose its priority in American assembly lines, which could have delayed the deal by some two years.

The deal will include F-35 and F-16 fighters, new troop-carrying choppers, and thousands of bombs and munitions.

According to Haaretz, Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit objected to the IDF taking a loan without full backing from the Finance Ministry, saying it created legal difficulties, but did not veto the move.

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