Bipartisan Bill for US-Israeli Anti-Ballistic Missile Program
WASHINGTON – Representatives Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) and Brian Mast (R-FL) are introducing legislation on Monday to increase funding for Arrow 3 system, an anti-ballistic missile defense program. “As the threat of terror explodes in the unstable Middle East, it’s critical that we defend our vital ally, Israel, and strengthen our military partnership. That’s why I’m proud to introduce this bipartisan bill to develop the Arrow 3 long-range missile defense system,” Gottheimer said in a statement provided to Jewish Insider. The New Jersey lawmaker added that the measure will help maintain Israel’s qualitative military edge by combating long-distance missiles from hitting the Jewish state.
Mast, who also introduced the measure, personally volunteered in the Israeli military after losing both of his legs while serving in Afghanistan, emphasized the bipartisan nature of this legislation. “There is undoubtedly a mutual benefit to the security of our nations in collaborating on missile defense. This bipartisan legislation would expedite the development of the Arrow 3 long-range missile defense system, which is absolutely critical to Israel’s defense and stability in the Middle East,” Mast noted.
The anti-ballistic missile program is designed to prevent sophisticated attacks from Hezbollah, Hamas, and Iran. The bill notes that in 2016, Iran successfully launched two “Qadr II” ballistic missiles, which were inscribed with the slogan, “Israel should be wiped off the Earth.” The measure calls for an increase of $105 million to Israel for fiscal year 2018 to fund the program.
In a March interview with Jewish Insider, Gottheimer blasted how Israel has turned into a political football between Democrats and Republicans. “I think it’s really unsettling. It has become much more partisan than it should be.” While 187 out of 193 Democratic Members recently signed a letter promoting the two state solution to President Donald Trump, the New Jersey lawmaker declined to sign emphasizing he only supports bipartisan measures relating to the Jewish state.