The US plans to provide Israel with an extra USD 680 million to strengthen Tel Aviv’s Iron Dome missile system, congressional staff members say.
Under a plan crafted by the House of Representatives’ Republicans, Washington is set to spend the money on the missile system from the current fiscal year through 2015.
The money seeks to strengthen Israel’s short-range rocket shield and it would allow Israel to build four additional batteries for the Iron Dome. The fund was earlier requested by Tel Aviv.
The new figure would be in addition to the USD 205 million that the administration of Barack Obama and Congress has agreed on in the 2011 budget.
Obama’s budget sets aside USD 3.1 billion for military assistance to Israel as part of Washington’s USD 30 billion commitment to Tel Aviv for a 10-year period.
Rep. Howard McKeon, the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, and Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, who heads the Foreign Affairs Committee, complained in a letter to Obama that his “record low” budget request has jeopardized Israel’s security.
Last month, the Pentagon reiterated that Israel’s security is a top priority of President Obama and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta.
A report published by the Congressional Research Service revealed Washington has given more than USD 67 billion in military aid to Israel over the years, according to Reuters.