US Representatives Grace Meng (D-NY) and Peter Roskam (R-IL) have called on Congress to reaffirm its commitment to funding cooperative defense programs between Israel and the United States.
In a letter to the Chair and Ranking Member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, the two called for 2017 funding to be focused on several cooperative programs with Israel.
Specifically Roskam and Meng called to invest in the Arrow System Improvement Program (ASIP), designed to shoot down long-range ballistic missiles, as well as the Arrow-3 system which can target ballistic missiles outside the earth's atmosphere.
The David's Sling Weapon System (DSWS) intercepting short-range missiles, guided projectiles, cruise missiles, aircraft and drones was also mentioned in the letter, as was the Iron Dome short-range missile defense system.
In a particularly timely call given Hamas' construction of its terror tunnels, the two also urged increased funding for the ongoing development of a new anti-tunneling defense program in a joint Israeli-American project.
"Continued defense cooperation with Israel is critical," said Meng, a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and its Subcommittee on the Middle East.
“Israel must have the ability to defend itself, and maintaining funding for these programs is essential for the Jewish state to combat attacks and threats from a wide array of hostile adversaries. I thank the Subcommittee on Defense for its past investments in these programs, and I respectfully urge the panel to continue doing so.”
Roskam, who serves as Co-Chair of the GOP Israel Caucus, added, "US-Israel defense cooperation enhances Israel’s defense capability and ensures our armed forces have access to cutting edge, battle-proven missile defense technology."
"Iron Dome’s near 90% success during Operation Protective Edge in 2014 once again proved its value. The product of an American-Israeli partnership saves lives, prevents conflict escalation, and advances US objectives by promoting regional stability. We must also continue to work with Israel on Arrow-3 and David's Sling in order to confront increasingly sophisticated missile threats from Hamas, Hezbollah, and Iran.”
Meng and Roskam's joint letter follows their similar requests in 2014 and 2015, which led to increased support for Israel's missile defense systems.