WASHINGTON (JTA) – The Obama administration asked the U.S. Congress to fast-track Israel’s request for an additional $225 million for the Iron Dome anti-missile system.
The administration cited Israeli needs arising from the Gaza war in pressing for the extra funding.
“The Government of Israel has requested $225 million in additional funding for Iron Dome in order to accelerate production of Iron Dome components in Israel and maintain adequate stockpiles,” Bernadette Meehan, a spokeswoman for the National Security Council, told JTA in an email.
“The Department of Defense has reviewed and supports this urgent request,” she said. “Since the start of Operation Protective Edge, Iron Dome has saved countless Israeli lives.”
In a meeting Wednesday of Democratic senators and Jewish leaders, some of the senators said they had already started the procedure to include the new money in this year’s appropriations.
A day earlier, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel wrote to leaders of the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate asking that the money be appropriated above the $351 million Congress is considering for the system.
Israeli officials have estimated that Iron Dome has had an 86 percent rate in intercepting rockets fired at Israel from the Gaza Strip since the July 8 launch of Israel’s campaign against Hamas.