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House passes bill to give security assistance to Israel

The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill on Wednesday that would provide security assistance to Israel.

The U.S.-Israel Security Assistance Authorization Act of 2018 was passed by voice vote and “codifies the 2016 Memorandum of Understanding between the United States and Israel that resulted in an unprecedented $38 billion in security assistance over 10 years,” according to the office of Rep. Ted Deutch (D-Fla.).

The bill’s official name was changed to honor Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), as the outspokenly pro-Israel congresswoman is not running for re-election this fall.

“[She] has been a stalwart friend of Israel throughout her time in Congress, and it is a fitting honor that this bill to strengthen the U.S.-Israel relationship bears her name,” said Deutch. “Israel is under constant threat from every direction. A threat to Israel, our strategic ally in a turbulent region, is also a threat to our national security.

“Enhancing Israel’s security is a step toward strengthening our own national security. This bill will significantly enhance Israel’s Qualitative Military Edge over its enemies, and improve bilateral cooperation on cybersecurity and space issues,” continued the congressman, who is Jewish. “Passage of the bill sends a powerful message of bipartisan American support for Israel and our continued investment in its security.”

The measure also extends the authorization for the U.S. War Reserve Stockpile in Israel for another five years, providing an additional $1 billion; urges the National Aeronautics and Space Administration to keep working with the Israeli Space Agency to pursue space and other science initiatives; and authorizes the president to create a counter-drone program with Israel.

Groups such as the American Israel Public Affairs Committee and Christians United for Israel applauded the passage.

The Senate passed their version of the bill last month.

— by JNS.org

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