WASHINGTON -- Israel and the United States have agreed to a ten-year defense deal, the largest and longest such agreement between the two nations.
The agreement will be signed Wednesday at the US Department of State, according to a government news release. No other details have been made public.
The agreement is the follow-on to a $30 billion, 10-year memorandum of understanding signed in 2007.
Defense News first reported over the summer that the latest US offer stands at $3.8 billion annually, which includes some $400 million to be spent in Israel on cooperative missile defense and other pre-agreed joint programs. As a condition of expanding Israel's top line from $30 billion to $38 billion over the coming ten years, Washington is insisting on removing a 30-year-old privilege whereby Israel is able to convert a significant portion of grant dollars into shekels for local research, development and procurement.
Getting the deal done has been a legacy issue for the Obama administration, but tensions between Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in part due to the US-Iran agreement reached in 2015, have created roadblocks.
Those issues exploded into the public in August, when the Israeli Ministry of Defense issued a statement comparing the Iran deal to the pre-World War II Munich agreement between Great Britain and Nazi Germany. The Ministry offered a semi-apology days later, but tensions remained.
Two questions are now up in the air. The first is the exact details of the ten-year agreement. The second is whether the agreement being reached will have any impact on Qatar and Kuwait being able to clear long-awaited fighter sales from the US.
Barbara Opall-Rome in Israel contributed to this report.
Aaron Mehta was deputy editor and senior Pentagon correspondent for Defense News, covering policy, strategy and acquisition at the highest levels of the Defense Department and its international partners.