U.S. allocates $205 million for Israel's Iron Dome anti-rocket system
Funds come atop another $200 million designated for joint U.S.-Israel anti-missile projects, David's Sling and Arrow.
Barack Obama's administration has allocated $205 million dollars toward funding Israel's advanced anti-rocket system, the Iron Dome.
The House of Representatives made the decision 212-206 after it passed a continuing resolution regarding funds for the 2011 fiscal year.
"This was a priority of Congress and President Obama, and it is the first funding of its kind for this important short-range rocket and artillery shell defense system," said Representative Steve Rothman (D-NJ), a member of the House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee.
The funds are in addition to the more than $200 million allocated for the Arrow and David's Sling, joint U.S.-Israel anti-missile systems.
"This funding sends a strong message, to both our enemies and allies, by providing more total dollars than ever before toward these rocket and missile defense programs," said Rothman. "This is only the latest example that when it comes to defense, military, and intelligence cooperation, the relationship between the U.S. and Israel has never been stronger."
"Given the scrutiny that our nation is appropriately giving to every dollar expended for all purposes – including the defense of the United States and its allies – it is a mark of the great importance of these projects that they were included in this funding bill," Rothman added.
The U.S. Congress passed last week the Obama administration's initiative to provide Israel with the grant to procure Iron Dome batteries just before the system aced its final test over the summer.
To date, the Defense Ministry has bought two batteries. Several months ago, the ministry's top brass estimated the sum the Americans allotted would be sufficient for procuring eight or nine batteries, half of what is necessary to protect the Negev and the Galilee from short- and intermediate-range rockets and missiles.
The defense establishment is still weighing the balance between the number of radars for the systems to the number of intercept missiles necessary. Different estimates suggest that each intercept missile will cost $40,000.