Obama Proposes $3.4 Billion in Israel Aid for Fiscal Year 2014

An Iron Dome battery near Sderot

— by Jacob Miller

President Barack Obama has requested that American aid to Israel remain untouched for Fiscal Year 2014 despite budgetary belt tightening in other areas. Under the President’s proposed budget for the 2014 Fiscal Year, Israel would receive a total of $3.4 billion in military aid, including $220 million for the Iron Dome missile defense system. The Times of Israel noted:

For the first time, funding for the joint US-Israel missile defense system Iron Dome appears in the presidential budget request, which still must be approved by Congress. A senior source in a pro-Israel organization in Washington familiar with the issue called the earmark “significant.”

More after the jump.
Israel Hayom summarized the budget:

Israel would receive $3.4 billion in total military aid under the 2014 U.S. budget proposal sent to Congress by President Barack Obama on Wednesday, virtually unchanged from its current level of military aid from the U.S.

Obama’s proposal includes $3.1 billion in general military aid for Israel, similar to 2013, plus a separate request for $220 million to finance the Iron Dome anti-rocket defense system….

Obama’s 2014 proposal also allocates $96 million for joint U.S.-Israel research and development projects, including the David’s Sling and Arrow missile defense systems.

The overall budget proposal that Obama submitted to Congress on Wednesday totalled $3.8 trillion.

A recent Bloomberg article outlined more specific terms of the missile defense funding for Israel:

The money, if approved during the annual defense budget process, would be on top of $486 million the White House and Congress have requested or added for the system in recent years after formal budgets were submitted. This includes $211 million added in the defense appropriations bill for this year, which President Barack Obama signed into law last month.

The $220 million request for fiscal 2014 “is new money, and it is the first time funding specifically for Iron Dome procurement has been requested in our budget submission,” Missile Defense Agency spokesman Richard Lehner said in an e-mail.

The article from Bloomberg also outlined how the American Missile Defense Agency requested funds to continue collaborative programs the United States works on with Israel, specifically the David’s Sling and Arrow programs. David’s sling is a shorter range system, and Arrow is intended to intercept long and medium range ballistic missiles.  

Joint U.S.-Israel Arrow 3 Defense System Test Successful

An Arrow 2 launch

— by Jacob Miller

On Monday, the Israeli Ministry of Defense carried out its first successful test of the joint U.S.-Israel Arrow 3 missile defense system. During the test, as reported by Israel Hayom, it “left the Americans speechless.” The Arrow 3 will become integrated with the current shorter-range Iron Dome system as well as David’s Sling to create a multi-layered missile defense shield that will be capable of shooting down a variety of long and short range rockets.

The Jerusalem Post summarized the test:

The Ministry of Defense carried out its first successful test of the Arrow 3 missile defense interceptor on Monday morning, firing it into space from a coastal military launching pad in central Israel.

More after the jump.

Set to become operational in around 2016, the Arrow 3 missile defense system operates in space, traveling at twice the speed of a tank shell to leave the atmosphere. It is designed to seek and destroy Iranian Shihab 3 missiles, as well as other long-range projectiles.

A senior defense source said the interceptor took off at around 8 a.m. on Monday morning over the Mediterranean Sea. “It obtained hypersonic speed, and reached an altitude of 100 kilometers, entering space. It followed various objects, such as stars, and gained further altitude. Its engine stopped after six minutes,” the source said.

The test was led by technicians from the Israel Aerospace Industries, together with a team from the US Department of Defense’s Missile Defense Agency. The effort is being coordinated by the Ministry of Defense’s Israel Missile Defense Organization.

“The Israeli and American teams congratulated one another warmly,” the source said.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak congratulated those involved in the test, saying, “This is an important milestone for the state of Israel’s multi-layered defense system, which includes Iron Dome, David’s Sling, Arrow 2 and Arrow 3.” […]

US funding assistance is crucial for the development of the project.

Debka Reports “Two readiness exercises in Israel”

DEBKAFile reports:

The annual Israel home front drill, “Turning Point 6,” taking place Sunday simulates a major earthquake followed by a tsunami washing up from the Mediterranean against Israel’s coastal cities. It postulates 7,000 deaths, 70,000 injured and 170,000 rendered homeless. Updated Homeland Front directives advise people in its path to run for open ground instead of staying indoors.

The US-Israeli three-week war game also starting Sunday simulates an Iranian, Syrian and/or Hizballah missile attack on Israel. It deploys 1,000 American and Israeli soldiers each, using Patriot, Arrow and Iron Dome anti-missile batteries. The Israeli homeland exercise is also relevant to a possible war with Iran. Its commander, Lt. Gen. Eyal Eisenkott, said the practice would inure the population and authorities to preparedness for different kinds of emergencies.