Congress Approves Expanded Military Aid to Israel

The United States-Israel Enhanced Security Cooperation Act now awaits President Barack Obama's signature before it can become law.

Natasha Mozgovaya
Natasha Mozgovaya
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Natasha Mozgovaya
Natasha Mozgovaya

The United States-Israel Enhanced Security Cooperation Act, which is meant to approve and expand military cooperation between the two countries, easily passed both houses of Congress on Tuesday and now awaits President Barack Obama's signature.

The House version of the bill was passed in May. The Senate version, which was passed in June, extended the authority of the U.S. to store weapons in Israel that could be used by Israel in case of emergency, which required an additional House vote.

AIPAC commended the House’s passage of the bill, saying in a statement, "The United States benefits greatly through enhanced cooperation with Israel. This bipartisan bill recommends new avenues to grow and strengthen the U.S.-Israel relationship in the fields of missile defense, homeland security, energy, intelligence, and cyber-security."

Rep. Howard Berman said during the floor debate that "since its founding, Israel has faced innumerable challenges to its survival, but the serious threats it faces today are unprecedented.... This bill once again re-affirms our determination to support Israel’s qualitative military edge against any possible combination of regional threats."

"Currently, there are only a handful of Iron Dome batteries operational in Israel. More are needed in order to protect all of Israel’s eight million citizens. This bill also pledges to assist Israel with its ongoing efforts to forge a peaceful, negotiated settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that results in two states living side by side in peace and security. I applaud Prime Minister Netanyahu’s willingness to negotiate anywhere, any time. The Palestinians should take him up on that offer, instead of pursuing a campaign to delegitimize Israel at the UN and elsewhere," he said.

An Iron Dome anti-ballistic missile being launched. Credit: IIlan Assayag

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