The US House and Senate committee on Appropriations has approved a budget doubling aid to Israel for the David’s Sling and Arrow 3 anti-ballistic medium-to-long range air defense systems.
In the year 2012, an unprecedented $235.7 million will be earmarked for Israeli defense against missile attacks – the original aid request by President Obama’s administration was just $106.1 million. The long-range Arrow 3 system and its development were set aside $61 million, with the medium-to-long range David’s Sling receiving $69 million. The total defense allocation for Israel increased by $25 million in 2012, even as budget cuts swept US agencies, including the Pentagon.
“The conferees find the [Obama administration’s] request insufficient and provide an additional $129,600,000 to address Israel’s security requirements,” legislators asserted in a committee report.
In the months preceding the budget allocation, Israeli Ambassador to the US Michael Oren and Counselor for Congressional affairs at the Israeli Embassy in Washington Aviv Ezra held several talks with lawmakers regarding Israeli security and US interests in the Middle East.
Commander of America’s Third Air Force, Lt. Gen. Frank Gorenc arrived in Israel last week to prepare for a joint training exercise between the Israel Air Force and the US Army taking place in 2012. During his visit, he also toured an Iron Dome missile defense battery and a combat laboratory.