WASHINGTON – A Senate panel approved a bill on Tuesday endorsing a decade-long aid package to Israel brokered by the Obama administration.
The US-Israel Security Assistance Authorization Act of 2018 authorizes a memorandum of understanding negotiated in 2016 between the two governments which will provide Israel with $38 billion in military aid between 2019 and 2028.
A bipartisan majority of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee passed the legislation, allowing it to proceed to the full Senate floor. The bill also authorized the president to establish a US-Israeli counter-drone program, expand collaboration on the peaceful exploration of space, and produce an assessment on Israel’s precision-guided defense needs with respect to threats from Hamas in Gaza, and Hezbollah in Lebanon and Syria.
The American Israel Public Affairs Committee, which pioneered the legislation, applauded its progress in a statement.
The bill “ensures that Israel has the means to defend itself, by itself, against growing and emerging threats – including Iran’s presence close to Israel’s northern border,” AIPAC said. “This bipartisan legislation authorizes agreed-upon increases in Israel’s security assistance and encourages expanding weapons stockpiles.”
The Israel advocacy group also pointedly celebrated the committee’s rejection of an amendment, proposed by Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, which called for phasing out aid to the Jewish state.