U.S. to cut support for Israeli missile defense program by $6 million
Palestinians will not receive funding unless they show ‘a firm commitment to peaceful coexistence with the State of Israel’ and fight terrorism.
The U.S. budget proposed by the Obama administration for 2013 would cut the funding for Israeli missile defense programs by $6 million, Israeli officials said on Monday.
The cut would affect the development of Short Range Ballistic Missile Defense program and Arrow System Improvement Program.
The $3 billion annual military assistance to Israel, within the framework of the 10 years memorandum of understanding, will remain unchanged.
Israel officials told Haaretz that the Israeli side knew of the cuts in advance.
The budget plan stipulates that no funds be allocated to a Palestinian state unless the Secretary of State determines and certifies that the Palestinians have addressed a long list of issues including “a firm commitment to peaceful co-existence with the State of Israel” and “taking appropriate measures to counter terrorism and terrorist financing in the West Bank and Gaza.”
The Republican Party, controlling the House of Representatives, voiced strong opposition to the budget, claiming it does not address the problems facing the nation.
"It seems like the president has decided again to campaign instead of govern and that he's just going to duck this country's fiscal problems," said House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, a Wisconsin Republican.
"Obama's budget is an insult to the American taxpayer," said Mitt Romney, frontrunner for the Republican nomination to face Obama in the November presidential election and one of the richest men to ever run for the White House.
While the Jewish Republicans criticized the Obama administration for cutting the missile defense aid for Israel, the Jewish Democrats stressed that this year the Obama administration asked for $3.1 billion for 2013 for Israel, in comparison to $2.994 billion in 2011.
Also opposing the new budget are two major Jewish charities. The budget includes limits to tax deductions for charitable contributions, expected to deprive American nonprofits of USD 4 billion annually. The Jewish Federations of North America and the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, which stand to suffer loses to their budget due to the change have both released statements objecting to the change in policy.
“In these distressed times, in which charities are serving more people’s needs while at the same time continuing to suffer a downturn in donations, the proposal to reduce the rate of tax deductibility for contributions is a recipe for harmful displacements and cuts in much-needed non-profit sector institutions and services,” the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America wrote in its statement.