Senate approves missile defense aid for Israel

Senate passes defense policy bill which includes more than $600 million for missile defense cooperation with Israel.

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Elad Benari,

United States Capitol Building (illustration)
United States Capitol Building (illustration)
iStock

The U.S. Senate on Thursday voted in favor of a defense policy bill which includes more than $600 million for missile defense cooperation with Israel.

The defense legislation was approved by a majority of 92-7. The House overwhelmingly approved the measure last week, 375-34.

The bill will now be sent to President Barack Obama to be signed into law.

The legislation includes $600.7 million for U.S.-Israel missile defense cooperation for the 2017 fiscal year, including $268.7 million in research and development funding for U.S.-Israel cooperative missile and rocket defense programs; $62 million for procurement of the Iron Dome rocket defense system; $150 million for procurement of the David’s Sling medium-range missile defense system; and $120 million for procurement of the Arrow-3 long-range missile defense system.

An additional $10 million are earmarked for anti-tunnel cooperation between the two countries.

The funding in the bill is separate from the memorandum of understanding signed between Israel and the U.S. in September, and which grants Israel $3.8 billion annually beginning in 2018 and through 2028.

After the memorandum of understanding was signed, Republican senators said they would seek to overturn part of it so that Israel can receive even more aid.

One of the senators at the forefront of those efforts was Senator Lindsey Graham, who opined that Israel made a mistake by signing a new $38 billion security agreement with the Obama administration, saying Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu could have gotten a better deal if he had waited until Obama left office.