A Small Matter of $30 Billion / Bar-On Seeks More Aid From U.S.

Finance Minister Roni Bar-On will spend Tuesday in meetings at the U.S. Congress, after the International Monetary Fund and World Bank annual meetings he is attending in Washington finish.

Bar-On's objective is to increase military aid to Israel. Even though the Bush administration has already agreed to significantly increase the aid, based on a more gradual rise over the period, approval is still no sure thing. The Democratic Congress is expected to cause quite a bit of trouble. The Bush plan keeps the $30 billion total over the 10 year period, but starts with only a small increase for 2008.

U.S. aid to Israel totals $2.4 billion a year, and Israel wants to increase this to $3 billion for each of the next 10 years - a total of $30 billion.

The Israeli explanation is that even though the economy is growing, the threats are growing even faster, and the country cannot support the burden by itself.

Bar-On will also spend time meeting senior congressional leaders.