Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Chris Coons (D-DE) today introduced the United States-Israel Security Assistance Authorization Act of 2018 (S.2497), which would reaffirm bipartisan support for the unshakeable U.S.-Israel relationship by authorizing foreign military financing for Israel over 10 years pursuant to the new Memorandum of Understanding signed between the two countries in September 2016. The bill also supports Israel’s ability to meet and address both conventional and emerging threats.
“With Israel facing evolving threats from Iran, Syria’s Assad regime, Hizballah, Hamas and other malign actors, this bipartisan legislation will enable the United States to further strengthen our critical strategic alliance with Israel,” said Senator Rubio. “It is consistent with America’s national security interests and moral values to ensure that Israel, a fellow democracy and our most important ally in the Middle East, remains safe and secure amid the region’s growing dangers.”
“On my recent bipartisan CODEL to the Middle East, I saw the real security challenges facing Israel. Congress must remain clear-eyed about both current and emerging regional threats as we strengthen our strategic partnership with Israel,” said Senator Coons. “I’m proud to introduce this bill with Senator Rubio, which represents the continuation of America’s decades-long unshakable, bipartisan commitment to Israel’s security. I look forward to working with my Senate colleagues and Israel to ensure regional stability and meet shared threats to our security in the next decade and beyond.”
· In addition to authorizing security assistance for Israel over a 10-year period, the Rubio-Coons legislation extends both the Loan Guarantee authority for Israel and the War Reserves Stockpile Authority for Israel for a 5-year period (FY2019-23).
· The bill also reiterates that it is U.S. policy to ensure Israel’s qualitative military edge (QME); authorizes the transfer of precision guided munitions (PGMs) and related defense articles and services to the reserve stocks in Israel for self-defense purposes; and seeks to enhance cooperation and coordination between the two countries in a variety of sectors, including through the use of memoranda of understanding between USAID and the Government of Israel.
· This bill is the Senate companion to legislation introduced by U.S. Representatives Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) and Ted Deutch (D-FL).