US lawmakers have called on Congress to increase funding for Israeli missile defense projects.
Last Thursday, Chief Deputy Whip Peter Roskam (R-IL) and Congresswoman Grace Meng (D-NY), a member of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Middle East, urged a key House of Representatives panel to increase funding for Israel's Iron Dome, Arrow, Arrow 3, and David's Sling missile defense systems.
Specifically, they called for an increase of $175.9 million over the President’s budget and $130.9 million above fiscal year 2014 funding for the Iron Dome system. Iron Dome is designed to intercept short-range rockets of the type regularly fired by terrorist groups in the Gaza Strip against Israel towns in southern Israel. If adopted, that would bring the total US funding for the program to $350.9 million in 2014.
Roskam and Meng further requested $268.7 million in US aid for the Arrow, Arrow 3, and David’s Sling systems - which defends against long- and medium-range missiles - presenting an increase of $172.1 million over the Administration’s request and level funding from fiscal year 2014.
Explaining the bipartisan request, Congressman Roskan, who co-chairs the House Republican Israel Caucus, said that continued American support for Israeli missile defense projects was firmly in the interests of the US. Specifically, close American involvement in the projects create jobs in the US, and and grants the U.S. a share in the advanced technology under development.
"Missile defense cooperation with Israel is one of the smartest, most mutually beneficial security investments," he said. "The unprecedented success of Iron Dome has been a game-changer for Israel by shielding its people from incessant rocket fire from terrorist organizations within the Gaza Strip. We must also continue to work with Israel to co-develop Arrow-3 and David's Sling in order to confront increasingly sophisticated missile threats from Iran, Hezbollah, and others."
Congresswoman Meng echoed his sentiments, noting "the continued threat of a nuclear Iran and its proxies Hamas and Hezbollah as well as the ongoing rocket and missile attacks against Israel" illustrate the "essential" nature of an increase in funding.
"It is imperative that Israel have the ability to defend itself, and boosting funding to these programs would further illustrate America’s commitment to stand by its dear friend and ally."