TEL AVIV (Reuters) – U.S. defense aid to Israel is likely to increase after 2017, sources on both sides said on Thursday, seeing a possible link to Washington’s efforts to assuage its ally’s fears over nuclear diplomacy with Iran.
A current package worth $3 billion a year expires in 2017. A U.S. official, speaking to Reuters on condition of anonymity, said negotiators were close to a new deal that would bring annual payouts to $3.6-$3.7 billion on average.
HERZLIYA, Israel (Reuters) – The chief of Israel’s air force on Wednesday played down worries voiced by some fellow officials about the possibility of Egypt acquiring advanced Russian-made air defenses.
The Russian news agency TASS said in March Egypt would receive the Antey-2500 missile system, an S-300 variant, and put the value of the contract at more than a billion dollars. Neither Egypt nor Russia has formally confirmed it.
JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s new rightist coalition government, hobbled by a razor-thin parliamentary majority, was sworn in late on Thursday amid wrangling within his Likud party over cabinet posts.
The evening ceremony in the Knesset was postponed by two hours so Netanyahu could divvy up for Likud the remaining ministries, after others were assigned to its four partners. Some Israeli commentators called the manoeuvring “farcical”.
TEL AVIV (Reuters) – An Israeli official made unusually detailed allegations on Wednesday of secret Hezbollah guerrilla sites in Lebanese villages, driving home its warning that civilians there risk bearing the brunt of any future war.
Though neither side appears keen on coming to blows, Hezbollah has been building up its arsenal since the last, inconclusive conflict of 2006 and Israel regards the Iranian-backed Shi’ite guerrillas as its most immediate threat.
TEL AVIV (Reuters) – A senior Israeli intelligence official who tracks the regional arms balance said on Wednesday that Egypt was buying Russia’s advanced S-300 air defense system, a deal reported in Russian media but not confirmed by Cairo.
Asked about the Israeli remarks, an Egyptian official reached by Reuters did not corroborate them but said that Israel should not feel threatened.
JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Benjamin Netanyahu is unlikely to find much comfort at home or abroad in his fourth term as prime minister after taking six weeks to form a coalition that will hold a parliamentary majority of just a single seat.
Long at odds with Western allies over his views on the Palestinians and Iran, Netanyahu could be similarly vexed by domestic legislation that even his right-leaning, five-party alliance will not necessarily agree on, political analysts say.
JERUSALEM (Reuters) – While Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu thunders against a looming Iranian nuclear deal, his defense chiefs see a more pressing menace from Tehran’s guerrilla allies.
Chief among these is Hezbollah, the Lebanese militia that fought Israeli forces to a stand-still in their 2006 war and has since expanded its arsenal and honed its skills helping Damascus battle the Syria insurgency.
JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel inflicted “massive and unprecedented harm” to Palestinian civilians in the 2014 Gaza war with indiscriminate fire and lax rules of engagement, a report said on Monday, citing testimony given anonymously by dozens of troops.
The 237-page report by the Israeli advocacy group Breaking the Silence described how Israel Defence Forces (IDF) left swathes of devastation after they invaded Gaza last July with the stated aim of halting Hamas rocket fire out of the enclave.
JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said on Monday he would not join the new coalition government being formed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, citing disputes over legislation.
The walkout by the far-right Lieberman raised the prospect that Netanyahu, whose conservative Likud party won the most votes in a March 17 election, may have to settle for a narrower alliance to secure a majority in the 120-seat parliament.
JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel’s armed forces see a growing threat in instant messaging applications — both to battlefield secrecy and to the privacy of women soldiers.
According to official military journal Bamahane, the number of troop indictments for sex crimes has almost doubled since 2012, with “infringement of privacy” counts, some involving the collection and sharing of compromising photographs, making up 35 percent of cases.