Photo: Gil Yohanan
PM Olmert
Photo: Gil Yohanan
Olmert: US committed to Israel's security
Prime minister says Israel's military advantage over Arab states still top priority for US, despite reports Americans mulling $20 billion defense deal with Saudi Arabia
Defense aid to Israel is still a top priority for the United States, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told the cabinet Sunday, saying that Israel enjoys more financial assistance than other countries in the Middle East.


"We have renewed agreements and a renewed commitment from the Americans that would help preserve our advantage over the Arab countries," the prime minister added, referring to reports that the US is mulling a $20 billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf states.


However, Olmert said that Israel fully understood the US' need to support the moderate states in the region.


According to the prime minister, the agreements he referred to has been reached during his meeting with President Georg W. Bush in Washington on June 20. An additional 25% increase in the aid package to Israel worth $3 billion per year and $30 billion over the next decade has also been agreed upon.


"This would mean a lot to Israel's security, and this is a good opportunity to thank President Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice," Olmert stated.


Other ministers stressed during the cabinet meeting Israel's need to secure its "quality advantage" over its neighbors in the Mideast and the US' major role in maintaining this advantage.


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