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Israel Joins F-35 Club: Israel signed an agreement with the United States on Thursday to acquire 20 F-35 strike fighters under a foreign military sale valued at 2.75 billion. The Middle East ally is scheduled to receive the aircraft between 2015 and 2017. "The most advanced fighter jet in the world today, the F-35 will enhance Israel's ability to defend itself, by itself, against any threat or combination of threats, from anywhere within the Middle East," said Michael Oren, Israel's ambassador to the United States, reported AFP. Udi Shani, director-general of the Israeli Ministry of Defense, signed the letter of offer and acceptance at a ceremony in New York City. Israel is the first nation to acquire the F-35 outside of the nine partner countries that have been developing it, including the US. (See also Ynetnews report, Reuters news wire service report, and Lockheed Martin release)