While Israel might prefer the F-22, it's not available. So is the F-35 a good enough alternative, given the cost, earliest delivery date, limits on customization, and overall capabilities? I have my doubts. Ideally, Israel doesn't want to rely on others for its defense needs. Even if it chose to build its own, a 4.5 or 5th generation fighter is extraordinarily complex, and they still have to turn to others for certain components - the engine, for example. A non-US alternative might be even less reliable. Could Israel trust Sweden or Europe not to put Israel under embargo, as they've done in the past? Could Israel trust Russia or China not to put their own regional interests ahead of Israel's? Perhaps the F-15SE - less stealthy, but also less costly, customizable, and battle tested - together with Israel's own advanced drones to take out the enemy's defenses - is the better strategic choice.
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from the article: Most advanced, expensive fighter jet headed to Israel