U.S. Doubles Aid to Israel's Defense Systems
The United States will double the special aid it gives Israel for the development and implementation of anti-missile systems, the Globes financial newspaper reported on Thursday.
According to the report, the House and Senate’s Committees on Appropriations approved the aid following a request by the U.S. Administration to approve aid totaling $106.1 million for the Arrow 3 anti-ballistic long-range air defense system, for the program to improve the basic capabilities of the Arrow systems, and for the David’s Sling mid-range anti-missile system.
Both Appropriations Committees went far beyond the request, the report noted, and raised the amount of aid from $129 million to $235.7 million in 2012, Globes noted. The report is based on information first published on the Inside Defense website.
The assistance to all three programs is based on an assumption that Israel would allocate identical amounts in its budget to all three programs, Globes noted. The report added that Michael Oren, Israel’s ambassador to the United States, and Aviv Ezra, Counselor for Congressional Affairs at the Embassy of Israel in Washington D.C., played an important role in talks with lawmakers in the months prior to the decision.
Steve Rothman, the U.S. Representative for New Jersey's 9th congressional district and a member of the United States House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, said that the Israel’s anti-missile programs advance U.S. interests in the Middle East.
“The growing distribution of missiles and rockets around the globe, starting with Iran and Hizbullah and ending with Gaza and Syria is a direct threat to U.S. national security,” Rothman was quoted as having told Inside Defense. “Our enemies know they cannot cope with the combined power of the world's only military superpower and the most powerful military force in the Middle East. This aid is the latest illustration of the unprecedented level of military cooperation and intelligence between the two countries.”
Earlier this week, the Commander of the Third Air Force of the U.S Military, Lt. Gen. Frank Gorenc, arrived in Israel to prepare for a joint training exercise between the Israel Air Force and the U.S. Army.
The 'Austere Challenge' (AC) exercise will take place next year and Lt. Gen. Gorenc's visit will strengthen the ties and coordination between the forces, wrote the IAF website.