The White House announced last night that it opposes the bill in the US Congress to add $455 million to US aid for Israel's missile defense program in the 2017 financial year.
The Obama administration has asked to allocate just $150 million and rejects Congress's proposal to add nearly half a billion dollars to the program. Aid for the missile defense program is separate from the $3.1 billion in annual military aid given to Israel by the US.
The administration's announcement was part of a long document issued by the White House's Office for Management and Budget (OMB), which expresses opposition to the Congress's bill on Israeli missile defense funding. The document states, "The administration opposes the addition of $455 million above the FY 2017 Budget request for Israeli missile defense procurement and cooperative development programs.”
According to the Senate appropriations committee proposal, Israel was supposed to receive $270 million for missile defense R&D programs, $62 million for procuring Iron Dome short range missile defense batteries, $150 million for medium range David's Sling systems, and $120 million for the Arrow 3 long-range missile defense system. Instead, Israel will have to make do with the $150 million in the White House's original proposal subject to Senate legislation.
Together with the White House's proposal it also opposes Congress's plan to cut $324 million from the US Ballistic Missile Defense Agency (BMD).
There is no doubt that the White House's position is related to differences between Washington and Jerusalem on a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for a new ten year agreement on US military aid to Israel. Jerusalem is asking for $40 billion over the next 10 years, having dropped its original request for $50 billion.
The pro-Israel lobby in Washington, The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) expressed "deep disappointment" regarding the Obama administration's decision.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on June 15, 2016
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