Israel need not rush to negotiate a new Memorandum of Understanding with the current administration, a senior aide to Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump told Channel 2 on Wednesday.
The Memorandum of Understanding, which sets the terms and quantity of US military aid to Israel is set to expire in 2018. President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu have conducted negotiations for months regarding a replacement agreement, yet have failed to finalize any deal.
Conflicting reports have emerged from the Obama administration, with some suggesting the White House was looking to cut aid to the Jewish state, though Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken claimed the US was preparing “the largest single pledge of military assistance from the United States to any country in our history”.
Some reports also indicated the stalemate revolved around Obama administration demands that a higher portion of the aid be spent in the US. Currently roughly three quarters of US aid to the Israeli military must be spent on US military hardware.
While Trump suggested in March that he would expect allies like Israel to pay back aid they had received over the years “big league”, on Wednesday David Friedman, an advisor to the GOP’s likely nominee, said a Trump White House would significantly increase aid to Israel.
“Our view is that the aid package to Israel will certainly not go down, and in all likelihood it will go up in a material amount, because Israel must maintain a technological and military superiority in the region.”
Friedman also hinted that Israel would find the terms of negotiation with a Trump presidency far more favorable than with the current administration.
“I can’t give advice on how Israel should bargain and how it should develop its own strategy. But the Trump administration is not looking to cut back on foreign aid and in all likelihood will increase it significantly.”