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Congress passed major pro-Israel legistation, including the Taylor Force Act and a boost to defense funding.

By: United with Israel Staff

The US Congress on Friday passed its Omnibus Appropriations bill for Fiscal Year 2018, which included major pro-Israel legislation that will significantly boost its defense development. .

The omnibus measure incorporates all 12 appropriation bills for FY2018, a massive $1.3 trillion spending bill, and is the result of bicameral, bipartisan negotiations, with input from the Trump administration. This legislation includes many critical initiatives that will bolster Israel’s security, including $3.1 billion for US security assistance to Israel.

The spending bill contains a total of $705.8 million for US-Israel missile defense cooperation, representing $105 million more than last year’s adopted funding level. These funds will support both research and development for and procurement of the Iron Dome, David’s Sling, Arrow-2 and Arrow-3 cooperative missile defense systems—key programs that help Israel defend its citizens against rockets and missiles and also advance America’s own missile defense capabilities.

The bill includes $47.5 million for joint anti-terror tunneling technologies, a $5 million increase from last year.

The bill was also the vehicle for Congress to pass the Taylor Force Act on Friday, legislation that cuts funding to the Palestinian Authority (PA) if it continues paying terrorists and their families – a practice that incentivizes terrorism.

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), a pro-Israel lobby body on Capitol Hill, noted that the Taylor Force Act is “a major milestone after years of hard work to stop this horrendous practice perpetuated by Palestinian leadership. No longer will America tolerate rewards and incentives for terrorism. It must end once and for all.”

The omnibus bill also includes several new funding programs for strategic cooperation, including for the establishment of a US-Israel Center of Excellence BIRD-Energy program and water technologies. For the first time, natural gas projects are included in the funding.

“AIPAC applauds Congress for including key provisions to help Israel address critical security challenges in the Fiscal Year 2018 Omnibus Appropriations bill,” the group stated.

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