Finance Minister Smotrich Nixes US Fighter Jet Deal, Angering Defense Minister Gallant

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JERUSALEM (VINnews) — Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich opposes approving the purchase of two squadrons of fighter jets from the US until the convening of the committee to examine the defense budget, according to a Ynet report.

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In the letter that Smotrich sent to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, he wrote: “The Ministry of Defense requests to convene without consent the ministerial committee for equipping the defense system to approve two long-term deals with a total cost of approximately 35 billion shekels for the purchase of a squadron of F-35 aircraft and a squadron of F-15 aircraft. Convening the committee and approving a deal of this magnitude without the consent of the Ministry of Finance is unprecedented, and I have no intention of approving it.”

Smotrich added that “War undermines many axiomas regarding defense budgets and requires new thinking. In the wake of the war, the defense establishment is demanding huge budget increases and the opinion of the finance ministry is that we need first to examine and modify the basic principles and requirements.”

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant slammed the committee for approving defense budgets, calling it “politicized”. He said that “There is an attempt to establish a political committee which will be led by three political representatives and which will harm the growth of the IDF’s strength which has been successfully continuing for years. It is unacceptable and won’t happen.”

The purchase of warplanes was the main focus of Yoav Gallant’s recent visit to the US and the discussions he had with senior US defense officials. The Biden administration has already approved the deals but due to the large sum Israel is paying which includes part of the aid package from the US, it requires ministerial approval.

The planes are part of a future deal which will see some of the current IDF planes removed from operational activity due to their vintage. Israel is also awaiting approval for the purchase of a squadron of Appache attack helicopters as part of its plan for dealing with attacks like the one on Oct. 7th last year.

 


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josh
josh
16 days ago

Smotrich is 100% correct. And if Galant didn’t realize that this was coming then he’s not paying attention. With the revelation of Oct 7th that our military planning woefully inadequate to deal with our enemies AND with our allies now is not the time to get involved with a gigantic arms deal with the United States. Let’s finish the war and let’s see what’s see who’s in charge in the US after November

abba
abba
16 days ago

Smotrich is right. Gallant is trying to circumvent him. No surprise, sadly, Gallant had showed us his true colors lately.

Enough
Enough
16 days ago

Worn out and over used air craft are a danger to these brave pilots. They need replacement. The stopping it and demanding committees to review and determine what’s needed is nothing more then a political stunt

shmendrick
shmendrick
16 days ago

Smotrich is wrong. the aircraft are needed today.