Senator Barbara Boxer (Photo: Facebook)

The U.S. Senate unanimously approved a bill that will further enhance US- Israel ties, highlighting the alliance between the two countries. 

A bipartisan bill approved by the US Senate on Thursday will strengthen economic and security ties between the US and Israel.

Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Roy Blunt (R-MO), the initiators of the bill, praised the Senate’s unanimous passage of the United States-Israel Strategic Partnership Act of 2014. The Boxer-Blunt bill was co-sponsored by a total of 81 senators.

The legislation supports efforts to deepen U.S.-Israeli cooperation on defense and reaffirms that the U.S. will continue to provide robust security assistance to Israel, including for the Iron Dome Missile Defense System. The bill further encourages the enhancement of commercial and economical ties between the two allies.

“I thank every one of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle for supporting this extremely important bill, which reaffirms the unbreakable bond between the United States and Israel,” said Senator Boxer in a statement. “This bipartisan bill strengthens cooperation between our two countries on a wide range of issues from defense to energy, ensures Israel has the resources to defend herself in an emergency, and affirms Israel’s ability to participate in the visa waiver program as long as she meets existing requirements.”

Historical Partnership

Boxer stressed the close relationship between the US and Israel. “America’s longstanding relationship and strong cooperation with Israel dates back to the presidency of fellow Missourian Harry S. Truman,” Blunt said. “I’m pleased the Senate has passed this bipartisan bill to reaffirm and broaden the important U.S.-Israel alliance through security, energy, and trade during this critical time in the Middle East region.”

The U.S.-Israel Strategic Partnership Act of 2014 outlines the major strategic partnership through the authorization of an increase of $200 million in the value of U.S. weapons held in Israel, to a total of $1.8 billion. This stockpile is intended for use by U.S. forces in the event of a crisis, but it can also be used by Israel in the event of an emergency with Israel reimbursing the U.S. for any weapons used. The bill further calls for increased congressional oversight to ensure that Israel maintains its qualitative military edge.

The legislation encourages U.S.-Israel cooperation on developing energy technologies.

aviel perry intercepts rockets

Iron Dome in action. (Photo: IDF blog)

Support of the Iron Dome

This past July, in the midst of Operation Protective Edge, the Senate Appropriations Defense subcommittee approved a defense spending bill that will provide $621.6 million for Israeli missile defense, including $351 million for the Iron Dome system that intercepts short-range rockets and mortars. The White House had requested approximately $176 million for the system for 2015, but lawmakers doubled the amount.

Author: Aryeh Savir
Staff Writer, United with Israel