Top Israeli security official arrives in Washington, reportedly to sign defense assistance pact

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel’s acting head of National Security, Jacob Nagel, is in Washington D.C., reportedly to sign a deal extending defense assistance to Israel for ten years..

Nagel arrived Tuesday. According to Israeli media reports, he is set to meet with his U.S. counterpart, National Security Advisor Susan Rice, to sign the new 10-year, $38 billion military aid package.

The new agreement, called a Memorandum of Understanding, is expected to be officially rolled out within days, possibly as early as this week, Reuters reported Tuesday, citing unnamed sources familiar with the deal.

Nagel left for the United States on Monday night after a meeting with U.S. Ambassador to Israel, Dan Shapiro, Haaretz reported. According to Haaretz, the meeting dealt with the final details of the agreement, including how it would be publicly announced.

Should the final package come in at $38 billion, up from $3.1 billion annually in the expiring deal, it would be a much lower sum than the $45 billion Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had requested.

According to Reuters, the new deal will roll in missile defense cooperation, previously considered separately from defense assistance. The change will make it harder for Israel to appeal directly to Congress for increases in missile defense.

Additionally, the deal will over time roll back the approximately 25 percent of the funds Israel may spend on defense equipment manufactured in Israel; instead, the money must be spent on the U.S. defense industry.