The U.S. Congress overwhelmingly approved a bill that will further enhance U.S.-Israel ties, highlighting the alliance between the two countries.
The United States House of Representatives voted on Wednesday to pass legislation affirming Israel as a “major strategic partner” of the United States, further deepening the bond between the two allies, AFP reports.
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 support for the Iron Dome Missile Defense System. The bill further encourages the enhancement of commercial and economic ties between the two allies and the advancement of research and development, collaboration on business, agriculture, water management, academics and energy technologies.
U.S. Unwavering Support For Israel
The measure reflects “the sense of Congress that Israel is a major strategic partner of the United States,” and declares Washington’s “unwavering support” for Israel as a Jewish state.
The bill, which passed the Senate unanimously in September, now goes to President Barack Obama for his signature.
“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 Barbara Boxer (D-CA) in a statement in September. “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.”
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.
‘Israel is A Bright Light in a Very Dark Region’
“Israel is a bright light in a very, very dark region,” Democratic Congressman Eliot Engel was quoted by AFP as saying on the House floor shortly before the vote. He noted that the bill was aimed in part at helping Israel maintain a “qualitative military edge” over its adversaries.
“We must always be working to ensure that our support for Israel keeps pace with the threats proliferating against the country — from Iran to Hamas,” House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Ed Royce added in a statement quoted by AFP.
The bill enhances Israel’s trade status to expedite export licensing, putting Israel in the category for license-free exports of certain U.S. technologies and products, and it places Israel on the U.S. list of countries that participate in the visa waiver program.
Tell us in the comments bellow: This is an outstanding example of excellent U.S. support for Israel. How do YOU feel about Israel? How would you like to see the ties between the US and Israel strengthened?
Author: United with Israel Staff