The Senate Appropriations defense subcommittee approved a defense spending bill yesterday (July 15) that will provide $621.6 million for Israeli missile defense, including $351 million for the Iron Dome system that intercepts short-range rockets and mortars. The sum represents a 50 percent increase in funding for the program.
Congress appropriated $235 million to the Iron Dome project last year, as opposed to the White House request for some $176 million, which lawmakers doubled. (Congress often increases funding for Israeli security projects sought by the president.)
The funding is part of the administration’s request of $3.1 billion for military assistance to Israel, the world’s largest beneficiary of U.S. foreign aid. “It works,” said Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., chairman of the subcommittee.
The measure still has to pass the Senate Appropriations Committee, and then a vote in the full Senate. But if it does, funding will be provided beginning this October for Israel’s missile defense programs. The Iron Dome anti-rocket system has been successful in shooting down rockets and preventing Israeli deaths with a 90 percent success rate, an improvement over the 84 percent success rate achieved in Operation ‘Pillar of Defense’.
The IDF deployed its ninth Iron Dome battery this week, after it was scheduled to be prepared only in a few months and was produced in record time.