Despite fears that U.S. aid to Israel would be cut Israel’s Channel 10 is reporting that the new U.S. budget shows an increase in aid to the Jewish state. The reason: an additional $200 million to go toward the development of the Iron Dome defense system.
Israel has expressed concerns in recent months that a U.S. budget sequester could hurt aid, specifically in the defense sector. However, during his visit to the country last month U.S. President Barack Obama moved to reassure the country that that wouldn’t be the case.
“I’m…pleased to announce that we will take steps to ensure that there is no interruption of funding for Iron Dome. As a result of decisions that I made last year Israel will receive approximately 200 million dollars this fiscal year and we will continue to work with Congress on future funding of Iron Dome,” he said.
President Obama also reiterated the U.S.’s commitment to future military assistance. “As part of our long-term commitment to Israel’s security the Prime Minister and I agreed to begin discussions on extending military assistance to Israel. Our current agreement lasts through 2017, and we’ve directed our teams to start working on extending it for the years beyond,” he said.
Obama’s comments followed ones by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, who said during a meeting with former Defense Minister Ehud Barak last month that the U.S. would continue to assist in the development of defensive systems in Israel despite the budget cuts that the Pentagon is going to be forced into making due to the sequester.