American Jewish community, politicians laud record US-Israel defense deal

The defense agreement, worth $38 billion over 10 years, is the largest such pledge in American history, hailed by both countries as a cornerstone of their alliance.

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September 15, 2016 10:26
3 minute read.
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US President Barack Obama walks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as he views an Iron Dome Defense Battery at Ben-Gurion International Airport, March 20, 2013.. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
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NEW YORK - Following the signing of the new Memorandum of Understanding for US security assistance to Israel on Wednesday, several American Jewish groups and community leaders applauded the agreement, valid until 2028.

Among them, the Chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations Stephen M. Greenberg, who was present at the signing, said that “the overwhelming sense reflected in statements from President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu, in Ambassador Rice’s remarks and expressed by everyone at the signing today was that this new MOU provides both Israel and our nation with enormous benefits.”

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Greenberg noted in his statement that “tens of thousands of American jobs will be created by Israel’s purchases from the US using all of the funds provided under the MOU.”

“Moreover, the technological advances developed by Israel will better protect American troops and improve their effectiveness on the battlefield,” he said.

The defense agreement, worth $38 billion over 10 years, is the largest such pledge in American history, hailed by both countries as a cornerstone of their alliance.

The deal incorporates several budget lines that have previously been negotiated and approved by the United States Congress each year, and requires Israel to abide by these terms over the course of the next decade, through 2029, without further lobbying of the US legislature for additional funds.

The Conference of Presidents’ Executive Vice Chairman and CEO Malcolm Hoenlein added that the agreement between the US and Israel “sends an important message to the entire region of the Middle East of the enduring strength of the U.S.- Israel special relationship.”



“It underscores to those who have tried to portray a fraying in the fabric of the relationship that the two countries have the strongest security and intelligence cooperation and an enduring commitment to mutual support,” he continued.

The American Jewish Committee also praised what they called a “milestone Memorandum of Understanding.”

“Bravo to the Administration for achieving this path-breaking agreement with Israel,” AJC CEO David Harris said. “The MOU demonstrates once again America’s steadfast commitment to Israel’s security and to the enduring bonds between Washington and Jerusalem.”

“Strategic cooperation between the US and Israel has long been a critical component of the US-Israel relationship built solidly on shared interests and values,” Harris added. “The vital assistance provided by the MOU will reinforce that bilateral cooperation, and assure Israel’s qualitative military edge against very clear threats to both Israel and the US in the most volatile region of the world.”

Reactions to the signing came from several Jewish politicians as well, including NY Congressman Steve Israel, a member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, who called the MOU a “historic agreement”.

“I have been a strong supporter of security assistance to Israel for many years, and as a member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, I will continue to fight for funding of cutting-edge military equipment and technologies to maintain Israel’s qualitative military edge,” Israel said in a statement. “The close relationship between the United States and Israel has never been more important to the security of both our countries, and I am pleased that this agreement further strengthens that bond.”

Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon also applauded the deal. “Israel has no greater, nor more important, ally than the United States of America,” he said.

Danon also thanked the US Ambassador to the international body, Samantha Power for “her role in further strengthening the close ties between our countries and our peoples.”

“We are committed to continue the close cooperation with our American friends at the UN as we work together for a safer, more secure and better world,” Danon continued.

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