Israel may seek another $20 billion in U.S. security assistance amid the unrest sweeping the Middle East, the Wall Street Journal reports.
While Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak told the Journal that Israel faces no immediate threat from the uprisings so far, the country will need to increase spending over the long-term, especially as adversaries Iran and Syria "might be the last to feel the heat" of such movements, Barak said.
"It might be wise to invest another $20 billion to upgrade the security of Israel for the next generation or so," Barak said. "A strong, responsible Israel can become a stabilizer in such a turbulent region."
Egypt will respect the 1979 peace treaty with Israel “for the time being,” Barak said, citing a conversation with Egypt's interim leader Field Marshal Mohammed Hussein Tantawi, but expressed concern that the next elections could bring leaders who might not respect the treaty, or run on a platform of hostility to the Jewish state -- and the U.S.
In a sign that military-to-military ties between Egypt and Israel remain intact -- at least for now -- the Israeli government agreed to let Egypt deploy more troops to keep stability in the Sinai Peninsula for the first time since the treaty, which called for the Sinai to be strictly demilitarized.