The White House announced opposition to increasing aid for Israel’s missile defense program on Tuesday, rejecting a congressional proposal made over a month ago.
The White House’s Office of Management and Budget submitted an official letter to Congress on Tuesday opposing “the addition of $455 million above the FY 2017 Budget request for Israeli missile defense procurement and cooperative development programs.”
The House of Representatives submitted a proposal to provide Israel with $600 million in U.S. funding for its defense missile program, a $455 million increase in government funding for the 2017 budget. Last month, the Senate Appropriations Committee submitted the proposal for the increased budget.
The request for increased funds followed extensive lobbying efforts by the State of Israel and pro-Israel lobbyist groups, mainly American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). Under the current memorandum of understanding between Israel and the U.S., signed in 2007, Israel receives a total of $30 billion in aid over a ten-year period, set to expire in 2018.
In the letter submitted to Congress, the Obama Administration claimed: “At a time when ISIL [ISIS] continues to threaten the homeland and our allies, the bill does not fully fund wartime operations. Instead the bill would redirect $16 billion of Overseas Contingency Operations funds toward base budget programs that the Department of Defense (DOD) did not request, shortchanging funding for ongoing wartime operations midway through the year. Not only is this approach dangerous but it is also wasteful. The bill would buy excess force structure without the money to sustain it, effectively creating a hollow force structure that would undermine DOD’s efforts to restore readiness.”
AIPAC responded critically to the White House.
“We are disappointed in the White House’s decision and criticism of Congress for funding US-Israel missile defense cooperation. These cooperative programs – including the Arrow, David’s Sling, and Iron Dome – are critical for Israel’s defense against a growing array of missile threats and make an important contribution to US missile defense programs. We applaud Congress for consistently supporting these key programs, and urge their full funding in both the FY 2017 National Defense Authorization and Appropriations Acts.”
Amir Tsarfati, a Jewish Christian, is the founder and president of Behold Israel, a news site to correct the scarcity in trustworthy reportage on issues and events impacting Israel, and to resolve the uncertainty about who or what to believe.
The views expressed in opinion articles are solely those of the author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by Black Community News.