JERUSALEM (AP) – The United States offered Israel on Thursday an unprecedented $30 billion military aid package, bolstering its closest Mideast ally.

The aid deal represents a 25 percent rise in U.S. military aid to Israel, from a current $2.4 billion each year to $3 billion a year over 10 years.

Nicholas Burns, the U.S. undersecretary of state for political affairs, and Israeli Foreign Minister Director-General Aharon Abramovitz signed the memorandum of understanding on the assistance at a ceremony in Jerusalem.

The package was meant in part to offset U.S. plans to offer Saudi Arabia advanced weapons and air systems that would greatly improve the Arab country’s air force. Israel has said it has no opposition to the U.S. aid to Saudi Arabia.

Burns said regional threats to Israel — Iran and the Hezbollah and Hamas militant groups — also threaten the United States.

‘We look at this region and we see that a secure and strong Israel is in the interest of the United States,’ Burns said.


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