Key Pentagon official in Jerusalem to discuss maintaining Israel’s military edge


WASHINGTON (JTA) — The U.S. deputy defense secretary met in Israel with its senior military officials to discuss sustaining Israel’s qualitative military edge in the Middle East.

This week’s visit by Bob Work came as Israel and the United States are finalizing another 10-year memorandum of understanding extending the defense assistance relationship.

“Their discussions focused on shared national security interests, regional security trends and ways to further strengthen Israel’s qualitative military edge,” Navy Lt. Cmdr. Courtney Hillson said, according to a Pentagon release.

The current defense assistance agreement, due to lapse in 2018, provides Israel $3 billion a year in defense assistance.

President Barack Obama has pledged to intensify assistance and cooperation with Israel in the wake of last year’s Iran nuclear deal, which he backed and Israel opposed. Reports have suggested that the aid could increase to as much as $4 billion a year.

Work, who met with Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon, among other officials, “also explored ways to continue to deepen cooperation on defense technology and infrastructure,” Hillson said.

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