An overwhelming majority of US senators are urging Obama to increase Israel’s defense budget, but Jewish presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is not among them.
Eighty-three out of 100 US senators have signed a letter asking President Barack Obama to approve a larger defense aid package for Israel.
The letter—led by Sens. Chris Coons (D-Del.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.)—stated that “in light of Israel’s dramatically rising defense challenges, we stand ready to support a substantially enhanced new long-term agreement to help provide Israel the resources it requires to defend itself and preserve its qualitative military edge,” Reuters reported.
Israel currently receives $3.1 billion a year in defense aid from the US. While the letter did not suggest a specific figure for a new deal, Israel has asked the US for between $4 and $4.5 billion annually as part of a new defense package. Obama administration officials, meanwhile, have proposed a lower target of $3.7 billion.
Presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) was among the letter’s signatories, while fellow 2016 contender Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.) was not.