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Diplomacy & Politics
JPOST.COM STAFF, HILARY LEILA KRIEGER \
'US aid another sign of Obama, Congress support'
Iron Dome battery 370.
(photo credit:Marc Israel Sellem)
Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Saturday that a recently announced US aid package aimed at bolstering the Iron Dome short-range
missile defense system was further proof of the Obama administration's support for Israel."This new law, which will add $70 million to the Iron Dome project, is
yet another expression of consistent support by the Obama administration,
and indeed by the US Congress, for the security of the state of Israel," Barak
said. "We acknowledge and appreciate them for this support."Obama signed the law enhancing US-Israel security cooperation Friday, the eve of the day that Mitt Romney was due to arrive in Israel.In
a brief Oval Office ceremony, Obama also announced the additional funds
for the Iron Dome, a funding boost first announced by Defense Secretary
Leon Panetta in May. The money has been repurposed from other Pentagon
projects, according to the White House.Obama was joined by two
members of Congress, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-California) and Rep. Howard
Berman (D-California), a former and past chairman of the board of the
American Israel Public Affairs Committee and the chairman of the
Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations.Speaking
to reporters after the signing, Boxer denied that there was any
political calculation in when the signing was held and that it was not
connected to Romney’s trip to Israel.She
noted that Congress, half of which is controlled by Republicans, was
the one that dictated the pace of passage for the bill. The president
only has 10 days to sign a bill once it has been passed by the
legislature.The legislation codified loan guarantees for Israel,
provides additional support for Israel’s maintaining its qualitative
military edge, pushes for closer cooperation between Israel and NATO,
and otherwise puts into law several long-standing US policies.“I
have made it a top priority for my administration to deepen cooperation
with Israel across the whole spectrum of security issues --
intelligence, military, technology,” Obama said before signing the new
law. “And, in many ways, what this legislation does is bring together
all the outstanding cooperation that we have seen, really, at an
unprecedented level between our two countries that underscore our
unshakeable commitment to Israel security.”
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