JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel signed an agreement to purchase 20 F-35 stealth fighter jets from the United States.
The contract, valued at about $2.75 billion, was signed Thursday at a ceremony in New York. Udi Shani, the director general of Israel’s Defense Ministry, signed the agreement.
“The signing of this defense contract is an event of great strategic and historic significance," said Michael Oren, Israel’s ambassador to the United States, in a statement released Thursday after the signing. "The most advanced fighter jet in the world today, the F-35 will enhance Israel’s ability to defend itself, by itself, against any threat or combination of threats, from anywhere within the Middle East."
Oren said the agreement was mutually beneficial in serving the goals of Israel and the United States, as Israel’s security ensures greater overall stability in the region and thus better guarantees global security.
The statement also pointed out that the billions of dollars that Israel spends on defense contracts in the United States generates thousands of jobs in the U.S. and in Israel.
"We thank the American people for continuing to recognize the common democratic values and principles shared with our people and for our continued friendship," Oren said in the statement. "This latest agreement stands as a poignant testament to the indomitable strength of these bonds."