Trump approves largest-ever aid package to Israel
August 24, 2018
and United with Israel
US President Donald Trump signed the National Defense Authorization Act on Monday, which includes $550 million in assistance to Israel and temporarily halts the sale of F-35 fighter jets to Turkey. This comes amid tensions between Washington and Ankara, which is currently holding an American pastor hostage, among other political moves.
The $717 billion Act includes a bipartisan measure honoring a decade-long Memorandum of Understanding between America and Israel, with the US giving $3.8 billion annually to the Jewish state.
The NDAA, titled the “John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act for 2019,” authorizes funds for research and development pertaining to weapon-defense systems, including the Iron Dome, David’s Sling, Arrow 2 and Arrow 3 that help Israel defend against missile and rocket threats.
Additionally, the law provides $50 million for joint US-Israeli work on counter-tunnel technology, which has emerged as a major security threat to Israel in recent years from the Palestinian Gaza-based terror group Hamas.
Facing constant threats on its borders, Israel is forced to spend more on defense as a percentage of GDP than any other nation in the industrialized world.
The vast majority of the security assistance is spent purchasing American products, and therefore the aid is essentially an investment in the US economy.
The annual military blueprint also temporarily blocks the US delivery of the F-35 fighter jets to Turkey in response to the detention of American pastor Andrew Brunson, whom the country accuses of participating in the failed 2016 coup against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.