A proposal in the House Armed Services Committee offers an additional $680 million in US aid for the Iron Dome short range anti missile system through 2015. The amount is on top of the $205 million already approved for the Iron Dome program is US fiscal year 2011.
The proposal was raised ahead of next week's committee meeting to outline of its version of the 2013 Defense Authorization Act. Despite indications of deep cuts in the Pentagon's budget, given that this is an election year, there is little doubt that the House Armed Services Committee will approval all, or nearly all, of the money.
The increased funding for Iron Dome has been expected since the Pentagon said in March that it would ask Congress for more funding to expand the system's deployment. Support for Israel's security is a priority for President Barack Obama and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, said the Pentagon in a statement.
Israel's Ambassador to the US Michael Oren stressed the urgency of the funding in an op-ed piece in "Politico" on March 18, in which he concluded. "We remain committed to resolving the conflict based on the principle of two states for two people. But until that is achieved, we have no choice but to rely on both our defensive and offensive capabilities. For America, as well as for Israel, an investment in the Iron Dome system is an investment in diplomacy - helping to create the conditions conducive to peace."
US Jewish support for President Obama remains strong, but he faces accusations, dating back to before he became president, that he does not really like Israel. Many sources in Washington therefore believe that he will not risk objecting to the increased funding for Iron Dome by the House of Representatives.
Last week, Minister of Defense Ehud Barak met Panetta at the Pentagon to discuss a range of issues, including Iron Dome, Iran, and Syria.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on April 22, 2012
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