US Senate elevates Israel's status as 'major strategic partner'

September 19, 2014 17:39

NEW YORK - An omnibus bill full of measures improving the relationship between Israel and the United States has passed the US Senate, after delay since May.

The bill declares Israel a "major strategic partner" of the US, enhances Israel's trade status to expedite export licensing, increases cooperation on energy, water engineering, research and development, and expands authority for forward-deployed US weapons stockpiles in the Jewish state.

But missing from the bill is action on an issue long encouraged by Israeli officials and their advocates on Capitol Hill: inclusion of Israel into the US visa waiver program, which would allow smooth travel from one country to the other.

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