Iranian missiles
Iranian missilesIsrael news photo: (file)

Democrats claim that U.S. funding has been increased for Israel's defense systems, although it appears that a one-time grant may be the vehicle through which the aid allocation was raised.

The 2011 budget approved by Congress for the Arrow 3 program totaled $108.8 million. This included a White House request for $50.8 million, combined with another $58 million tacked on by the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense.

According to Aaron Keyak, spokesman for New Jersey Democratic Congressman Steve Rothman, the Fiscal Year 2010 U.S. appropriations for Arrow 3 and David’s Sling missile defense systems were $50,036,000 and $80,092,000. Keyak quoted page 89 of the bill text, which he sent to Israel National News.

"The total amount to U.S.-Israel joint missile defense programs in Fiscal Year 2010 was $202,434,000," he stated in an email response. "The bill reads, “$202,434,000 shall be for the Israeli Cooperative Programs … $80,092,000 shall be for the Short Range Ballistic Missile Defense (SRBMD) program [David’s Sling], including cruise missile defense research and development under the SRBMD program, $50,036,000 shall be available for an 15 upper-tier component [Arrow 3] to the Israeli Missile Defense Architecture.”

The Globes business news service said last week that the White House had budgeted $60 million for Israel's Arrow 3 program, and Congress added another $97.4 million for the 2010 fiscal year, bringing the total appropriation for the program to $157.4 million.

Meanwhile, a $205 million grant intended to fund a 10-unit battery of the Iron Dome system to protect Israel’s southern flank against short-range Kassam rocket attacks was announced by the White House in May, pushing up the total amount of defense aid received this year by the Jewish State.

The generous aid package, however, is predicted to be a one-time grant, while Arrow 3 funding cuts could be permanent.

In addition, more permanent cuts may be on the way: the 2011 allocation for the Magic Wand system (also known as “David’s Sling”) – used to defend Israel against medium-range missile attacks – was $84.7 million. Last year’s budget was $134.7.

The Arrow 3 anti-missile system is intended to intercept and destroy long-range ballistic missiles, like the ones that could be fired at Israel from Iran.

One of the most advanced defense systems in existence, the Arrow 3 is being jointly funded and produced by Israel’s IAI (Israel Aerospace Industries) and the U.S.-based Boeing aerospace and defense contractor.