House approves bill that strengthens U.S. alliance with Israel


WASHINGTON (JTA) – The U.S. House of Representatives unanimously approved a bill that strengthens the U.S.-Israel alliance.

The 2014 United States-Israel Strategic Partnership Act, which passed the House on Wednesday night, declares Israel a “major strategic partner” of the United States, thus expanding authority for U.S. weapons stockpiles in Israel and upgrading Israel’s trade status to expedite export licensing.

The measure, which passed the Senate unanimously in September, awaits the signature of President Obama.

It also encourages the inclusion of Israel in the United States’ visa waiver program if it meets program requirements. Cooperation between the two countries in the fields of energy, water, homeland security, agriculture and alternative fuel technologies also is included in the legislation.

Jewish organizations commended Congress for its support.

AIPAC called the measure “historic” and said it “will dramatically strengthen and expand the U.S.-Israel alliance as a way to confront new threats and challenges in the Middle East.”

Jerry Silverman, CEO of the Jewish Federations of North America, said in a statement, “It makes clear to the world that the two countries are strategic allies at the highest level.” Silverman also called it “truly heartening to know that Israel and the Jewish community at large will always be able to count on the United States for support.”

Recommended from JTA