May 14th, 2010
12:21 PM ET
13 years ago

Obama wants funding to help Israel build defense system

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption=" President Obama wants funding to help Israel build defense system ."]

WASHINGTON (CNN) - The White House is asking Congress to approve $205 million to help Israel build a new short-range rocket defense system, Obama administration officials confirmed Friday.

Called the Iron Dome, the security system "addresses Israelis' worries about errant rockets being fired into their homes" and is designed to intercept incoming rockets fired from Lebanon and Gaza, a senior administration official said.

White House spokesman Tommy Vietor explained the administration's rationale, saying, "The president recognizes the threat missiles and rockets fired by Hamas and Hezbollah pose to Israelis, and has therefore decided to seek funding from Congress to support the production of Israel's short-range rocket defense system called Iron Dome."

Two senior administration officials said the $205 million would be in addition to the $3 billion the United States spends each year to promote Israel's defense.

"As the president has repeatedly said," Vietor added, "our commitment to Israel's security is unshakable and our defense relationship is stronger than ever. The United States and our ally Israel share many of the same security challenges, from combating terrorism to confronting the threat posed by Iran's nuclear-weapons program."

One senior administration official said Michele Flournoy, U.S. under secretary of defense for policy, called Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Wednesday to alert Israeli officials about the administration's new rocket funding.

That official said a U.S. team went to Israel in the fall to see the Israelis work on the Iron Dome system, and came away with the assessment that it was "a system that made sense."

The other senior administration official said the funding is part of an ongoing partnership between the United States and Israel to promote steps "we can jointly take to improve Israel's security." Israel's short-range rocket defense system is "one of the security measures we've been talking [about] with them over time," the senior administration official said.

The Obama administration is helping Israel enhance its security systems, in part, to address Israelis' fears that establishing a Palestinian state will create a safe launching pad for rocket attacks. The administration is
continuing to nudge Israel to resume talks with the Palestinians.

Filed under: Popular Posts • President Obama
soundoff (68 Responses)
  1. Doug Marsh

    Please Israel, pay for your own defense. We are not the protectors of the whole world. You get to pick and choose what you want to spend your money on, but expect the United States to spend it's taxpayer money on your defense. What does being an allie of your country do for the United States???

    May 14, 2010 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  2. Smith in Oregon

    Israel's economy is doing well, America's economy is sitting on the coral reef where Bush-Cheney jumped ship. Let Israel come up with the 200+ million taxpayer dollars themselves and focus on creating jobs here in America.

    May 14, 2010 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  3. GI Joe

    How much did Shrub and Darth pay Israel?

    I'm just curious. Anybody know?

    Waiting . . . . . . .

    chirp chirp

    May 14, 2010 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  4. David

    Republicans – what about the future debt for my grandchildren????? Guess that doesn't matter now? Come on, let's hear it!

    May 14, 2010 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  5. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    This is a good step. The Israelis live under constant attack from some crude and some sophisticated weapons that these Arabs have been lauching at CIVILLIAN targets. It is an unfortunate need that the Israelis have to defend themselves.

    My question about these Arabs is: why are they no building their own infrastructure (road, hospitals etc) instead of rockets and suicide bombs? Maybe Golda Meir was correct when she said that there will be peace when the Arabs love their children more than they hate the Jews.

    May 14, 2010 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  6. Sensible Cape Coral FL

    Israel is prosperous enough to take care of its own defense. Why do we have to do it for them? What has Israel ever done for us?

    May 14, 2010 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  7. The Bribe...

    After the sarcastic ridicule of the head of Israel, Obama wants to make nice, nice with a bribery.............................................................................!

    May 14, 2010 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  8. capt snarky

    What??????????? The President bent over backwards to placate and curry favor with Hamas and Hezbollah – now that they HAVE scud missles (as well as their regular complement of rockets, bombs, etal), NOW the President is interested in defending Israel???? And spend $250 million to do it? What the eff?

    I say we just put the President on the Isreali border with a buterfly net and save ourselves $249,999,995, which we can then use to control our own borders........

    May 14, 2010 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  9. Rick McDaniel

    Let Israel pay for their own darn defense system. We cannot continue to pay for the world's problems.

    May 14, 2010 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  10. ficheye

    We already give these guys 3 billion dollars a year; they seem to use it to bomb Palestine and build new housing developments. Everyone, including most people on this page, seem to agree on the matter.

    It's pretty clear that, if some war broke out over there over oil we could use Israel as a launching pad. It's all about tactical superiority, not about keeping Israel safe. Try googling 'Israel spies on US'. These guys treat us like dirt and expect help in their ongoing genocide. Stop the settlements. Let them build their own missile defense.

    May 14, 2010 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  11. NVa Native

    Israel? Why do we take on the role of being the world's cop. Is there any country we are not sending our bombs to?
    The US needs to take care of our citizens first, when that is done then we can send any surplus to other nations for peaceful aid, not frikin bombs!

    May 14, 2010 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  12. ficheye

    ...And to the person who thinks that SARAH PALIN would know what to do... you mean unleash armageddon, you fool?

    Just like Obama, no one president will solve all of our problems or keep all of their promises. A Palin administration would be one of the most disorganized, crazy administrations that the world has ever seen and the joint chiefs would never rally behind her to drop nukes. That is the most clueless comment on this board, hands down. Take your religious fundamentalism and keep it where the sun don't shine.

    May 14, 2010 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  13. Hugo

    There you have it in a nut shell, liberal logic....
    Palestine, Syria, Iran et al; supporting terror on a daily level in missile attacks on the citizen's of Israel, our ally in the area that provides us with much of our intelligence. This is exactly the Obama's Administrations problem, they are reactionary not proactive in curtailing any threat of terrorism, either domestic or abroad.

    May 14, 2010 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  14. No spin just fact

    Looks like he saw the recent drop in Jewish support.

    May 14, 2010 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  15. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    I want funding for Israel also, it's imperative they have a defense system that is top gun. Make no mistake about it, if Israel fails, we fail.

    May 14, 2010 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  16. JIM El Paso Tx

    And WHY in the hell would we want to spend that $205 million that we don't have on Israel???? WHY?????

    May 14, 2010 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  17. Get A Grip

    Irene May 14th, 2010 12:34 pm ET

    I am sick and tired of being Israel's rottweiller. Shouldn't the guilt over the Holocaust be over by now??? The Israelis are arrogant and aggressive enough to take care of themselves.
    How about "the guilt" over slavery. Shouldn't that be over by know?

    May 14, 2010 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  18. angelo

    Let me understand this. The American tax payer now pays for Israels health care, also we cover much of their housing projects. We pay for their military. I believe Israel has US funded college education. Over 5 billion dollars a year in aid with a population of 25 million. Can someone do the math. More money to Isreal, more finacial cuts to domestic (USA) programs. The US schools are failing, our roads are collapsing. US taxpayers are still losing their homes and health care, which we have to pay for. Jobs are going overseas. Who do our politicians represent? Let our country needs come first. Stop funding foreign interest at the cost of the American taxpayer and health. We need leaders to think about how the American dream is a reality and not just a dream.

    May 14, 2010 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
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