WASHINGTON – Despite freezing funding for most aspects of the US government at 2010 levels, the US House agreed Wednesday evening to increase military aid to Israel substantially.

Most significantly, the House added $205 million in first-time funding for the Iron Dome project, a short-range rocket defense system. The money was pledged by President Barack Obama last May, but had been stalled until now.

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In addition, military aid allocations from Israel should increase from 2010 levels of $2.775 billion to $3b. for fiscal year 2011, while those for Egypt and Jordan will hold constant from 2010.

That increase is dictated by the 10-year memorandum of understanding the US has negotiated with Israel, but it could have been frozen along with other spending increases since the House passed a continuing resolution for 2010 budget levels as a stopgap funding measure so government didn’t shut down, after Congress failed to pass a FY2011 spending bill through the normal process.

Other expenditures for Israel, including more than $200m. for the Arrow long-range missile defense system and the medium-range David’s Sling, will also keep the same amounts as their 2010 levels.

The continuing resolution with its increased funding for Israel was passed 212-206 by the House and still needs to be approved by the Senate and signed into law by Obama.

“Given the scrutiny that our nation is appropriately giving to every dollar expended for all purposes – including the defense of the United States and its allies – it is a mark of the great importance of these projects that they were included in this funding bill,” said Rep. Steve Rothman, a New Jersey Democrat, who helped shepherd through the additional money. “This funding sends a strong message, to both our enemies and allies, by providing more total dollars than ever before toward these rocket and missile defense programs.”

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