AIPAC head testifies on Israel aid

WASHINGTON (JTA) — The head of a pro-Israel lobby group testified on Capitol Hill about the importance of U.S. aid to Israel.

Howard Kohr, executive director of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, told the House Appropriations Foreign Operations subcommittee that "American assistance to Israel serves vital U.S. national security interests and advances critical U.S. foriegn policy goals."

He requested that Israel receive $2.775 billion in military aid in fiscal year 2010, as called for in the 2007 Memorandum of Understanding between the U.S. and Israel that allocates $30 billion in aid for the Jewish state over 10 years.

Kohr noted that the military hardware Israel must purchase to face the increased threat of terrorism and Islamic radicalism is increasingly expensive, and that "windfall oil profits" have fuled the growth rate of military spending in countries such as Saudi Arabia and Iran in recent years.

He added that Israel will do its part by increasing its own defense spending. The Jewish state is slated to spend $150 billion on defense during the next decade, a 50 percent increase over the previous 10-year period, he said.

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