Israeli ministers are lining up against the purchase of a second squadron of advanced F-35 stealth fighters from the United States, saying the $3 billion needed for the deal could be put to better use.
Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz told a government meeting Wednesday that the money for the highly-touted deal should instead be spent developing Israel’s drone force and buying more relatively inexpensive rockets that can be launched from the air, sea, or land, Israeli daily Haaretz reported Thursday.
The deal for the new squadron, which still needs government approval, was sealed last month during Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon’s visit to the US.
Each F-35A, to be named Adir in Israel, costs roughly $150 million. Israel already ordered an initial squadron of 19 F-35A Lightning II jets in 2010.
Steinitz was not alone in casting doubt on the deal, which would eat Israel’s full $3 billion annual US aid package. Agricultural Minister Yair Shamir, a former junior general in the air force, and apparently Finance Minister Yair Lapid also reportedly spoke out against deal. (end of excerpt)
Click here for the full story, on the Times of Israel website.