(Israel Hayom/Exclusive to JNS.org) The Obama administration on Tuesday announced its opposition to a Congressional proposal for a $455 million increase in funding for Israel’s missile defense program in the 2017 U.S. budget.
A statement published on Tuesday by the White House’s Office of Management and Budget said the Obama administration “opposes the addition of $455 million above the FY 2017 Budget request for Israeli missile defense procurement and cooperative development programs.”
Last month, the Senate Appropriations Committee recommended $600 million for Israeli missile defense in the 2017 fiscal year—$113 million more than the previous fiscal year and $455 million above the Obama administration’s request.
The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) said in a statement that it was “deeply disappointed” in the Obama administration’s opposition to the proposed funding increase.
“On a bipartisan basis, Congress has increased funding above administration requests this year, as it has done for well over a decade,” AIPAC said. “These cooperative programs—including the Arrow, David’s Sling, and Iron Dome—are critical for Israel’s defense against a growing array of missile threats and make an important contribution to U.S. missile defense programs. We applaud Congress for consistently supporting these key programs, and urge their full funding in both the FY 2017 National Defense Authorization and Appropriations Acts.”
On Wednesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said in a statement, “There is no cut in U.S. aid. The matter is an internal dispute between Congress and the White House over the size of annual increases to the missile defense program. Prime Minister Netanyahu is working to anchor such increases as part of the discussions on an agreement on aid for the next 10 years. Security aid for missile defense will not be cut; rather, it will be increased. The attempt to turn the dialogue with the U.S. into a political battering tool in Israel is improper and all expressions of panic are out of place.”