These Congressional committees this month provided a total of $705 million for research and development and procurement funding for the Iron Dome, David’s Sling, Arrow-2 and Arrow-3 US-Israel cooperative missile defense systems, AIPAC said in a press release issued Thursday.
This funding represents a $558 million increase above the president’s budget request for these programs, and $105 million over last year’s adopted funding level, according to AIPAC, which revealed that the Senate Appropriations Committee is expected to consider its version of the defense bill later this year.
The new awarded funds appear to contradict an agreement between the Obama White House and Israel, which complemented last year’s package of $38 billion in military assistance over the next decade.
As Reuters reported last year, while the package was the biggest ever US military aid to any country, it came with what appeared at the time to be ironclad concessions by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Those concessions included Israel’s promise not to seek additional funds from Congress beyond what will be guaranteed annually in the new package, Reuters reported, and to phase out the special arrangement that allowed Israel to spend part of its US aid on its own defense industry instead of on American-made weapons, the officials said.
AIPAC rejoices in the bipartisan nature of the decision, and commends the leadership of House Appropriations Committee Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ) and Ranking Member Nita Lowey (D-NY), House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee Chairwoman Kay Granger (R-TX) and Ranking Member Peter Visclosky (D-IN), House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-TX) and Ranking Member Adam Smith (D-WA), House Armed Services Subcommittee on Strategic Forces Chairman Mike Rogers (R-AL) and Ranking Member Jim Cooper (D-TN), Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain (R-AZ) and Ranking Member Jack Reed (D-RI), and Senate Armed Services Committee Subcommittee on Strategic Forces Chairwoman Deb Fischer (R-NE) and Ranking Member Joe Donnelly (D-IN)—who ensured that these critical programs were included.