News / Middle East

Israeli Purchase of Fighter Jets Seen as Litmus Test for Continued US Support

F-35 fighter jet (file photo)
F-35 fighter jet (file photo)

Israel is moving ahead with plans to purchase nearly $3 billion in advanced stealth fighter jets from the United States aerospace firm, Lockheed Martin. The purchase would come as Israel considers options including a preemptive strike on Iranian nuclear facilities.

Israeli defense officials say the purchase of 20 next-generation F-35 fighter jets is part of a routine overhaul of the country's air defenses.

However, the announcement from the Israeli defense minister's office this week came as Israeli leaders hold top secret meetings on how to react to the Iranian nuclear threat.  

Israeli intelligence believes Iran is close to developing a nuclear weapon for possible use against Israel. Iran's leadership has called for the destruction of the Jewish State.

Military experts in Israel have long warned that a pre-emptive strike against Iranian nuclear sites could likely trigger an extended war.

Retired Major General Eitan Ben Eliyahu, a former head of the Israeli Air Force, said Israel needs to prepare for a drawn-out conflict.

"The timetable shows that the first delivery will arrive in Israel no earlier than 2015," he said.  "We all know that the threat is that Iran will have a nuclear weapon much earlier than that.  On the other hand, this is not just a one-time or a short-time threat. We have to consider all options, what will be in the future. This is why we need it even though the first delivery will take place not earlier than 2015."  

The deal would come at a time when many in Israel have doubts over U.S. support of the Jewish State.  Relations between the White House and Israel have deteriorated since President Barack Obama took office, partly because of Mr. Obama's pressure on Israel to stop construction in the occupied West Bank and in East Jerusalem.

Eliyahu and other observers say Washington's approval of the fighter jet sale will be seen here as a litmus test of continued U.S. support.

"When it does [approve the deal], this is a very clear indication that we are together to secure the State of Israel and to secure that there is no dramatic change against Israel in the balance of power and the balance of threats in the Middle East. And I think that even the approval - if not the delivery - is a very clear signal which indicates the commitment of the U.S. government and the cooperation between the two countries to secure Israel and to secure the peace in the Middle East," he said.  

Israel receives billions of dollars each year in military aid from the United States.

Earlier this month, the U.S. announced that it plans to sell advanced F-15 fighter jets to Saudi Arabia but won't equip them with long-range weapons systems and other arms whose inclusion was strongly opposed by Israel.

You May Like

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid