Levine: Obama Has Kept His Promise to Israel

— by Danielle Lehrer

In an op-ed written in The Forward, former Representative Mel Levine (D-CA) asserts that President Barack Obama has kept his promise to stand with Israel against rocket attacks.

Extract follows the jump.
During his first term as president, Barack Obama has made good on this assurance. Most recently, on May 17, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announced that the United States would immediately provide Israel with $70 million for the purchase of additional rocket defense batteries. This aid comes after the Obama administration had already given Israel $205 million in 2011, in addition to the $3 billion Israel receives in annual foreign aid…

American funding for David’s Sling, Israel’s missile-defense system, more than doubled over the last four years – from $52 million during the last year of President George W. Bush’s administration to $110.5 million this year. Funding for the advanced system, developed to defend against the ballistic- and cruise-missile threat from Hezbollah, Syria and Iran, has increased every year since President Obama took office in 2009. The system’s interceptor missile, the Stunner, has already been successfully tested, and the first operational David’s Sling battery is scheduled to be deployed in early 2013…

The Obama administration has expanded military cooperation with Israel in other vital ways as well. In late 2009, more than 1,400 American service members participated in Operation Juniper Cobra, the largest joint American-Israeli military exercise in history. An even bigger joint drill is scheduled for October, and will include the establishment of American command posts in Israel and a reciprocal arrangement at United States European Command headquarters in Germany.

President Obama has taken unparalleled steps to preserve Israel’s qualitative military edge and ensure that the Jewish state is prepared to defend itself against a multitude of ever-present threats. The Obama administration has, in word and deed, strengthened America’s enduring commitment to Israel’s security – just ask the Israeli leadership.

After the recent announcement of new Iron Dome funding, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak agreed that the U.S.- Israeli defense relationship had never been stronger: ‘The U.S. decision to support further enhancing Israel’s security is an important demonstration of the unbreakable bonds between the United States and Israel.’  Speaking to claims by the U.S. administration of unprecedented cooperation between the two countries, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recently said of President Obama: ‘He has backed those words with deeds.’

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