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US Senate votes to lock in aid to Israel, encourage joint technology ventures

The $38 billion aid package, negotiated in 2016, allows America to increase its defense aid to Israel and increases weapons stockpiles that Israel may use in a conflict with Hezbollah.

The U.S. Capitol building. Credit: Martin Falbisoner via Wikimedia Commons.
The U.S. Capitol building. Credit: Martin Falbisoner via Wikimedia Commons.

The U.S. Senate has passed the U.S.-Israel Security Assistance Authorization Act of 2018, a bipartisan piece of legislation that authorizes U.S. security assistance to Israel for 10 years, regardless of which administration happens to be in power.

The Senate voted in favor of the $38 billion aid package last week, which was negotiated in 2016. It allows the United States to increase its assistance to Israel, and encourages increased weapons stockpiles and U.S.-Israeli cooperative ventures on anti-drone technologies, cybersecurity and space.

According to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the act authorizes a joint assessment of the kinds of precision-guided weaponry Israel needs to defend itself, allowing the acquisition of such munitions to be fast-tracked.

The act also authorizes the U.S. War Reserve Stockpile in Israel for an additional five years and allows the president to add precision-guided weapons to that stockpile for Israel to use in an armed conflict with Hezbollah.

“The act seeks to ensure that Israel has the means to defend itself, by itself, against growing and emerging threats, including Iran’s presence close to Israel’s northern border,” AIPAC said in a statement.

In related news, AIPAC commended the U.S. Congress for approving the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act for 2019, which includes hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of security provisions for Israel.

The NDAA authorizes funds for research and development on the Iron Dome, David’s Sling, Arrow 2 and Arrow 3 systems, and $50 million for joint U.S.-Israeli work on counter-tunnel technology.

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