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Defense Minister Barak says Israel might ask for more aid

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel may ask the United States for $20 billion more in security aid, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak told The Wall Street Journal.

The aid is needed to help manage threats arising from the recent uprisings in the region, the Journal reported.

Barak called the region’s popular uprisings "a movement in the right direction," but said that Israel was concerned that Iran and Syria would come late to the regional unrest.

He added that he feared public pressure could push new leaders in Egypt away from the 1979 peace treaty between Israel and Egypt. Still, Barak said he believes that Egypt will respect the pact with Israel "for the time being."

"The issue of qualitative military aid for Israel becomes more essential for us, and I believe also more essential for you," Barak told The Wall Street Journal, meaning the United States. "It might be wise to invest another $20 billion to upgrade the security of Israel for the next generation or so."

Barak added that "A strong, responsible Israel can become a stabilizer in such a turbulent region."

The United States allocates about $3 billion a year in military assistance to Israel.

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