US Senate approves $500m for Israel’s missile defense program

The 2019 National Defense Authorization Act passed by the US Senate yesterday allocates $500 million for Israeli missile programs and $50 million for a joint US-Israeli program for combating the tunnels threat.

This is the first time that military aid to Israel has been determined under the memorandum of understanding between Israel and the US governing the US aid package for ten years from 2019. Israel will receive $3.8 billion annually in total – $3.3 billion for financing military procurement and $500 million for the rocket and missile defense programs Iron Dome, Arrow 2, Arrow 3, and David’s Sling (Magic Wand).

In practice, Israel will receive less for the missiles program but more for procurement. In the 2018 fiscal year Israel received $705.8 million for the missiles program and $3.1 billion for military procurement. The memorandum of understanding provides that Israel may not submit a request to Congress to expand aid for the missiles program (the “plus-up” process) as it has up to now.

The new law extends by five years the validity of the law on storing US weapons in emergency stores in Israel, and calls for the setting up of a joint body to determine the quantity and type of smart ammunition that Israel needs in its confrontation with Hamas, Hezbollah, and other terror organizations.

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