Israel wants to purchase four relatively small, frigate-class ships to protect its natural gas reserves in the Mediterranean Sea, at a reported cost of about $100 million per boat. Last week, Haaretz reported that Israel and Germany were at an advanced stage of talks over the purchase. However, a deal has not been signed and defense officials say Israel is looking at various other options for the purchase of boats to meet its needs.

In the past, Germany funded about a third of the cost of six Dolphin submarines it manufactured for Israel, four of which are already in the possession of the Israel Navy.

A security official told Haaretz on Monday that the plan was to buy frigate-class ships, which are smaller and significantly less expensive than larger missile boats. The cost of an advanced missile boat is estimated at about $250 million. Lighter patrol boats like the Dvora, now in the service of the Israel Navy, are too small for the task because they cannot carry the heavy defense systems required. […]