(JTA) -- The United States will help Israel buy four more Iron Dome short-range anti-missile systems, a Pentagon official said.
Lt.-Gen. Patrick O'Reilly, the head of the Pentagon's Missile Defense Agency, told the Senate Appropriations Defense subcommittee Wednesday that the agency has included in its budget a proposal to pay for four more of the protection systems, which each cost about $50 million.
The system, which has been deployed near Beersheba and Ashkelon, has intercepted rockets fired from Gaza on southern Israeli communities.
WASHINGTON (JTA) -- Let’s get past this U.S.-Israel relationship thing, so we can get on with important stuff, like the U.S.-Israel relationship.
That seemed to be the message this week at the annual policy conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. With 10,000 people and both the U.S. and Israeli leaders in attendance – plus 67 U.S. senators and 286 members of the U.S. House of Representatives at the gala dinner on Monday night – this AIPAC parley was the biggest and in many ways the most impressive ever.
J Street, wrapping up its second national conference today, will fan out over Capitol Hill for a round of lobbying meetings that will deliver a message that could – at least in part -- could warm AIPAC's heart: don't cut aid to Israel.
That, along with a call to continue aid to the Palestinian Authority in the interests of a two-state solution, is the sole “ask” in about 250 Hill meetings – mostly local J Streeters going to their own representatives offices, taking another page out of AIPAC's play book.
Though the coming battle over the 2012 budget will be waged across line items on spread sheets and political talking points, those most affected will be real people with real problems.
Above it all looms the ballooning deficit and a new Congress replete with members from both sides who campaigned on cutting spending and lowering the budget. In such an atmosphere, the decisions facing the President are not easy ones: how to make the investments in our future and protect those suffering because of poverty and the recession while not contributing to the deficit.
WASHINGTON (JTA) -- Faced with a new Congress intent on slashing the U.S. federal budget, Jewish groups are trimming their agendas to hew to its contours.
On issues from Israel aid to the environment to elderly care, Jewish organizations are planning to promote priorities that would find favorable reception in the new Republican-led U.S. House of Representatives. The groups are trying to build alliances based on shared interests and recasting pitches for existing programs as Republican-friendly.
WASHINGTON (JTA) -- Funding for Israel will remain a top priority in a Republican-led U.S. House of Representatives, a top GOP congresswoman said.
"Security assistance to Israel is a top priority for Republicans because our Members understand that it is a vital investment which enhances our nation's security interests and is a force-multiplier of our efforts to combat extremism in the Middle East," Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) said in a statement. "Charges to the contrary are baseless and politically-motivated."
Rep. Eric Cantor's proposal to separate Israel's U.S. aid from the overall foreign aid appropriations process may get support from some GOP colleagues eager to put the Democratic administration and congressional Democrats on the spot, but you can bet it's going to make pro-Israel leaders here nervous.
WASHINGTON (JTA) -- A Republican Congress would seek to remove funding for Israel from the foreign operations budget, a GOP leader said.
U.S. Rep. Eric Cantor, the Republican whip and the only Jewish Republican in the House of Representatives, told JTA that a GOP-led House would seek to defund nations that do not share U.S. interests, even if it meant rejecting the president's foreign operations budget.
Cantor, of Virginia, said he wants to protect funding for Israel should that situation arise.
WASHINGTON (JTA) -- An Obama administration official committed to sustaining a 10-year defense assistance program to Israel, saying that advanced tehnology is endangering Israel.
Andrew Shapiro, the assistant secretary of state for political-military affairs, said in a rare speech on Friday that the Obama administration has since its outset been committed to maintaining Israel's qualitative military edge over its neighbors.