Congressional negotiators agreed to hike funding for missile defense development with Israel.
Appropriators from the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate agreed Wednesday on a defense appropriations package that includes $155 million for missile defense cooperation with Israel.
That’s $17 million more than last year’s appropriation and $75 million more than President Bush requested. Both houses are expected to approve the bill in the coming weeks, with Bush expected to sign the measure before Thanksgiving.
The package includes $98 million for Israel’s Arrow missile interceptor program; $37 million for the development of a short-range interceptor, a program launched in part because of Hezbollah’s bombardment of northern Israel during the Lebanese terrorist group’s war with Israel in the summer of 2006; and $20 million to develop a high altitude missile defense.
It is aimed principally at enhancing Israel’s missile defense capability, although the package has applications for U.S. defense.
Other Israeli-U.S. packages approved by the appropriators are mostly for U.S. defense needs, especially in Iraq.