The Senate approved the security aid that the US provides to Israel, the most tangible manifestation of American support for the Jewish state.
The Senate on Wednesday adopted the US-Israel Security Assistance Authorization Act of 2018 (S. 2497), which seeks to ensure that Israel has the means to defend itself, by itself, against growing and emerging threats, including Iran’s threatening presence close to Israel’s northern border in Syria.
Authored by Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Chris Coons (D-DE), the legislation supports full funding of security assistance to Israel as outlined in the historic 2016 US-Israel Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on security assistance.
Facing constant threats on its borders, Israel is forced to spend more on defense as a percentage of GDP than any other nation in the industrialized world.
This bipartisan legislation authorizes increases in US security assistance to Israel, and it encourages expanded weapons stockpiles and new US-Israel cooperation in anti-drone technologies, cybersecurity and space.
This bipartisan bill supports $3.3 billion in security assistance to Israel and $500 million in cooperative missile defense funding in fiscal year 2019, as prescribed by the US-Israel MOU.
The bill authorizes a joint assessment of the quantity and type of precision-guided munitions necessary for Israel to defend itself against Hezbollah, Hamas and other terrorist groups. It also mandates rapid acquisition and deployment procedures for such munitions.
The vast majority of the security assistance is spent purchasing American products, and therefore the aid is essentially an investment in the US economy.
The bill urges the NASA administrator to continue working with the Israel Space Agency in order to identify and cooperatively pursue peaceful space exploration and science initiatives.
The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) stated Thursday that it “appreciates” the leadership of Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker (R-TN) and Ranking Member Robert Menendez (D-NJ) along with the authors of the bill, Sens. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Chris Coons (D-DE).
In May, the House Foreign Affairs Committee adopted a version of this measure, H.R. 5141. AIPAC urges the House to act on this important measure.