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Iron Dome battery 370.(Photo by: Marc Israel Sellem)
'US aid another sign of Obama, Congress support'
Defense minister Barak thanks US president, Congress for $70m. Iron Dome aid package, enhanced US-Israel cooperation.
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.

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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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