U.S. Could Increase Military Aid to Israel

New chairman of U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Marine General Joseph Dunford to visit Israel Sunday in his first international trip since taking office; to discuss Syria, Russia, Iran, and military aid.

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Joseph Dunford, Jr., testifies during his Senate Armed Services Committee confirmation hearing to become the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, on Capitol Hill in Washington
Joseph Dunford, Jr., testifies during his Senate Armed Services Committee confirmation hearing to become the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, on Capitol Hill in Washington

The chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford will land in Israel on Sunday for an official visit to discuss the nuclear deal, Russia, and Syria. This will be Dunford's first official visit outside of the United States since starting in the post on October 1.

On Sunday, Dunford, a Marine general, will review an honor guard at IDF headquarters in the Kirya in Tel Aviv before meeting with his Israeli counterpart, IDF chief of staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot.

The two generals are expected to discuss a number of matters including both countries' intelligence activities in the wake of the Iran nuclear deal, which the IDF describes as a strategic turning point. The duo will also discuss Syria: Russian operations in the region, U.S. involvement, and the Iranian offensive.

The two are also expected to discuss the relationship between their two nations, which has been described as chilly.

Talks on U.S. military aid to Israel have recently started between officials in various government ministries, and these discussions are expected to intensify in the near future. The U.S. and Israeli governments had been looking to agree on a 10-year aid package to extend the current deal worth $3 billion annually, which is due to expire in 2017.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu previously suspended the talks because of his opposition to the Iranian nuclear deal.

Deputy U.S. National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes said last week that the talks could resume when Netanyahu visits President Barack Obama at the White House on November 9. The Israeli leader echoed that prediction on Monday:

"In my imminent visit to Washington I will discuss Israel's defense needs for the coming years, for the coming decade, with the president," Netanyahu said in parliament.

Before the suspension, the two sides were close to a new package of grants worth $3.6 billion to $3.7 billion a year, U.S. and Israeli officials have said.

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