Senate Approves Funding Boost for Iron Dome
A U.S. Senate panel on Tuesday approved a 50 percent funding boost for the Iron Dome anti-missile system, AFP reported.
The measure, if it becomes law, would provide $621.6 million for Israeli missile defense programs for the 2015 fiscal year starting in October, including $351 million for the short-range Iron Dome system that has been put to the test over the past eight days amid a raging conflict between Israel and Hamas.
Congress appropriated $235 million to Iron Dome last year, the report noted.
The White House had requested about $176 million for the system for 2015, but lawmakers doubled the amount. 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.
In May, the House of Representatives adopted its own National Defense Authorization Act, which matches the Senate's Iron Dome funding proposal.
The Senate measure is part of an overall Defense Department spending bill backed by the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee Tuesday that commits $549.3 billion to military operations for 2015.
In March, the U.S. Defense Department announced it was providing $429 million to Israel for further development of its aerial defenses, specifically the Iron Dome system.
The Iron Dome, which is designed to intercept rockets that are fired towards populated area, has proven very effective and its success rate was listed as 90% in 2012.
Last week, the IDF received an eighth Iron Dome battery and on Tuesday it received a ninth battery, in an effort to improve its ability to defend Israelis against rocket attacks.