Israel asks Congress for more missile defense funds


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel has asked Congress to add more than $300 million to the Obama administration’s budget request for its missile defense programs.

The request for an extra $317 million came in February, Bloomberg reported. It marks the second consecutive year that Israel has asked Congress for additional funds, but this one comes amid what is considered a crisis in U.S.-Israel relations over Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech before a joint session of Congress.

The money would provide additional production funds for the David’s Sling and Arrow-3 missile defense programs, which were developed in conjunction with the U.S. and its defense companies. The request is in addition to the $158 million proposed by the Pentagon for fiscal year 2016.

It is not unusual for Israel to ask Congress for additional defense funds.

For fiscal year 2015, which ends on Sept. 30, Congress awarded Israel an additional $347 million for missile defense programs, including the Iron Dome anti-missile defense system. Another $225 million in emergency funds was granted to Israel in fiscal year 2014 for Iron Dome.

The missile defense money is in addition to the some $3.1 billion given to Israel annually to purchase weapons. Much of that money is spent by Israel in the United States.

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