Senior US official: Senators' letter superfluous

Letter signed by 83 senators to urge more aid to Israel won't change anything in practice, senior official claims.

Tova Dvorin ,

Capitol Hill
Capitol Hill

A letter from 83 of the 100 total senators demanding US President Barack Obama to hurry and settle a new defense aid package to Israel, encouraging him to raise it from $3 billion a year, will not make a difference in practice, a senior American official opined Wednesday. 

If anything, additional support for Israel is a given, he told Army Radio- due to heavy bilateral support for Israel in Congress. 

Israel has been asking for an increase of the annual defense budget to $4-$4.5 billion when the current agreement expires in 2018, and while the letter did not specify how much the US should give, it called for a significant increase.

In the letter, the senators also said they want to increase US funding for cooperative missile defense programs with Israel, such as Iron Dome and David's Sling.

Republican presidential candidate Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) was one of the 51 Republicans supporting the move, while Democratic candidate Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) was not one of 30 Democrats who signed.