The new U.S. spending bill provides a boost in military aid to Israel, specifically for its highly successful Iron Dome missile defense system.
The $1.01 trillion Omnibus Appropriations Bill for Fiscal Year 2015, which was unveiled this week by Congress and is currently being debated, provides for $3.7 billion in military aid to Israel, including $3.1 billion in regular annual military aid as well as a hefty boost of more than 20 percent in proposed funding for Israel’s missile defense program at $619 million.
This includes $351 million for Iron Dome and the remaining $268.8 million for the David’s Sling, Arrow-2, and Arrow-3 systems. This increase will make for the largest-ever U.S. military aid package granted to Israel.
The spending bill also requires that 55 percent of the components for Iron Dome be manufactured in America. Rafael Advanced Defense Systems has partnered with the U.S. defense firm Raytheon to produce the Iron Dome system. Rafael, the Iron Dome’s developer, has also been marketing the system to the U.S. military as a cheaper alternative to Patriot missiles.
Regarding the Palestinian Authority (PA), the spending bill stops assistance to the PA if it unilaterally becomes a member state of the United Nations or other U.N. agencies without a peace agreement with Israel. The PA is currently a non-member observer state in the U.N.
The spending bill also allows the U.S. government to reinstate full military aid to Egypt at $1.3 billion. While the bill specifies a number of requirements before it can resume the aid, it allows for Secretary of State John Kerry to bypass them for “national security” reasons. Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has been engaged in a military conflict with Islamic State-linked terror groups in the Sinai Peninsula and has been increasingly seen as an important ally in the fight against Islamic terrorism.
Additionally, the bill includes $1 billion in economic and military aid to Jordan and additional U.S. humanitarian aid to the millions of Syrian civil war refugees.