Israel has offered to waive nearly $55 million in US aid for its missile defense
programs, the Defense News website reported over the weekend.
officials in Israel declined to comment on the report.
US-based Defense News, in light of the considerable cuts Washington has made to
its defense budget, Jerusalem has sought to shoulder its part in the new,
harsher financial reality. The US cut $37 billion from its defense budget this
fiscal year and is expected to cut $52b. in 2014.
The Israeli offer came
despite a commitment by US President Barack Obama to leave aid for Israeli
missile defense programs untouched.
US aid has contributed to the
development of the Arrow 3 system, which is designed to intercept ballistic
missiles in space. It has also helped fund the lower-tier Arrow 2 interception
program, as well as David’s Sling, designed to shoot down intermediate-range
rockets and cruise missiles, and the Iron Dome system for short-range
The US gave Israel $211m. for development of the Arrow 3
system in 2012 and will transfer $269m. this year. It has earmarked a further
$250m. to contribute to the production of four Arrow 3 batteries and is expected
to examine a request for four more batteries at a cost of $680m.
batteries of the system are expected to have more interceptors, making them more
expensive. In recent months, amid tension with Iran, Israel has stepped up the
Arrow 3’s development and production rate.
According to Defense News,
Israel was also slated to receive $213.9m. for David’s Sling.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Israel would not object to a five-percent
cut in its annual military assistance from the US.