Large Senate majority calls on Obama to increase aid to Israel

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A large bipartisan majority in the U.S. Senate is calling on President Barack Obama to immediately sign an agreement on a new defense package that includes an increase in aid to Israel.

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham and Democrat Sen. Chris Coons penned a letter to Obama that was signed by 51 Republican and 32 Democratic senators.

Sen. Lindsey Graham speaking at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee Policy Conference (AIPAC) lobbying group in Washington.
Sen. Lindsey Graham speaks at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee Policy Conference (AIPAC) in Washington.

“In light of Israel’s dramatically rising defense challenges, we stand ready to support a substantially enhanced new long-term agreement to help provide Israel the resources it requires to defend itself and preserve its qualitative military edge,” said the letter, according to a report by Reuters.

The current aid package, due to expire in 2018, stands at $3 billion annually. Israel wants to up the amount to $5 billion annually.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has hinted he may wait to negotiate with Obama’s successor to try and secure a better deal.

American and Israeli officials have been trying to hammer out a memorandum of understanding that would increase U.S. military aid to Israel for the next 10 years.

In November 2015, Israel is said to have completed its “shopping list” of desired American military platforms, which reportedly included a request for V-22 Ospreys, planes believed capable of reaching Iran from Israel.