Congress urges Obama to up military aid to Israel

Resolution 729 calls to expedite completion of new, long-term Memorandum of Understanding on US military aid to Israel.

Ilana Shneider ,

Capitol Hill Washington DC Congress America
Capitol Hill Washington DC Congress America

A new bipartisan resolution urging the Obama administration to expedite the completion of a new, robust and long-term Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on U.S. military assistance to Israel was introduced on May 13, 2016.

Resolution 729, initiated by, among others, U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa, re-affirmed the long-standing Congressional commitment to strengthening the U.S. – Israel relationship.

In a statement issued on May 13, 2016, Ros-Lehtinen said“The United States has no greater friend and ally than the democratic Jewish State of Israel. But our major strategic partner is under constant threat in a region marred with terror, violence and instability – all of which are ever present on Israel’s borders.

"Ensuring Israel maintains its QME (Qualitative Military Edge) is not only U.S. policy, but it is our law. A new MoU between the United States and Israel is needed to help guarantee Israel’s safety and security in the face of these new threats and challenges.

"That is why it is incumbent upon the Obama administration to conclude a new, robust and long-term MoU with Israel that will increase the amount of assistance over the current agreement, expand its scope, and to do so expeditiously. We stand ready and willing to work with the administration to make sure that this priority is addressed in a manner that is mutually beneficial for the U.S. and our ally, Israel."

Ros-Lehtinen, whose maternal grandparents were Sephardic Jews from the Ottoman Empire, was born in Havana, Cuba in 1952. She came to Miami in the 1960's and became the first Hispanic woman to serve in the Florida State House of Representatives, the Florida Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives.

She is an impassioned and staunch supporter of Israel and a vocal critic of the United Nations. In 2011, she introduced a bill to block U.S. funds for any United Nations entity that recognizes the Palestinian statehood.

In 2016, Ros-Lehtinen, together with three other Congressmen, introduced a Bill demanding that any future Arab-Israeli peace accord will also address the issue of Jewish refugees displaced from Arab countries and Iran