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Obama opposes funding boost for Israeli defense

(Israel Hayom/Exclusive to The Obama administration on June 14 announced its opposition to a Congressional proposal for a $455 million increase in funding for Israel’s missile defense program in the 2017 U.S. budget. Last month, the Senate Appropriations Committee recommended $600 million for Israeli missile defense in the 2017 fiscal year—$113 million more than the previous fiscal year and $455 million above the Obama administration’s request. The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) said in a statement that it was “deeply disappointed” in the Obama administration’s opposition to the proposed funding increase. “On a bipartisan basis, Congress has increased funding above administration requests this year, as it has done for well over a decade,” AIPAC said. “These cooperative programs—including the Arrow, David’s Sling, and Iron Dome—are critical for Israel’s defense against a growing array of missile threats and make an important contribution to U.S. missile defense programs.”

On June 15, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said in a statement, “There is no cut in U.S. aid. The matter is an internal dispute between Congress and the White House over the size of annual increases to the missile defense program. Prime Minister Netanyahu is working to anchor such increases as part of the discussions on an agreement on aid for the next 10 years. Security aid for missile defense will not be cut; rather, it will be increased.”

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