WASHINGTON – US lawmakers said Tuesday there is overwhelming support in Congress for the 2014 defense budget which will total $552.1 billion. The budget will be put up for a vote later this week.
Congressional approval means Israel will likely enjoy special aid that will include the development and production of missile defense systems. This in addition to the annual military aid the US provides Israel, totaling $3.1 billion.
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Israel continues to enjoy extensive military aid from the US, despite painful cuts in the US defense budget.
The Senate Appropriations Committee has authorized boosting funding for Israel's missile defense program by $173 million, of which $33.7 million will be invested in the Arrow systems; and $117.2 million in the Magic Wand system.
Roughly speaking, the Arrow system is meant to protect Israel from Iranian ballistic missiles while the Magic Wand system was designed to address the Hezbollah threat from Lebanon. The Iron Dome system tackles immediate threats from Gaza and Lebanon.
Congress is set to vote on a request by President Barack Obama for $200 million for Israel to buy additional Iron Dome batteries.
A congressional committee also added $15 million to establish a co-production capability for Iron Dome components by Israel and the US, a move apparently intended to consolidate US efforts to achieve greater joint production of the Israeli-designed missiles.
Funding for missile defense systems such as Arrow and Magic Wand is not included in the annual aid to Israel as their development also benefits Americans. Parts of Iron Dome are manufactured in the US, providing employment to American citizens.
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