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Pentagon asks $146 million for Israel missiles, other programs

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Israeli soldiers patrol near an Iron Dome missile system, designed to intercept and destroy incoming short-range rockets and artillery shells, in northern Israel on January 20, 2015. (AFP photo)

The US Defense Department has requested $145.8 million to fund Israel’s missile systems and other military programs in fiscal year 2017.

Pentagon documents, released on Tuesday, show that the United States will continue to support Israel’s Iron Dome system, a short-range missile interceptor, and help fund David's Sling, designed to defeat medium-range missiles, as well as the Arrow ballistic missile system.

The requests for new funding are tucked in the Defense Department's $583 billion budget for 2017, which was submitted by the Pentagon chief, Ashton Carter, on Tuesday.

In addition to about $42 million for Iron Dome, the US Missile Defense Agency's budget request included $103.8 million for cooperative programs with Israel, down from $267.6 million in fiscal 2016, Reuters reported.

Vice Admiral James Syring, director of the Missile Defense Agency, said his agency was working with Israel under a co-production agreement signed for the Iron Dome system.

Syring also said the two sides were trying to reach a second co-production agreement for the David's Sling program without giving a time frame.

Washington has given Israel more than $3 billion since 2001 for its missile programs.

A high-level US delegation visited Israel last month to work out the final details of an approximately $41 billion aid package to be paid over a decade.

Israel is the largest cumulative recipient of US foreign assistance since World War II.

US military aid to Israel has amounted to more than $124.3 billion since it began in 1962, according to a US congressional report, released late last year.

Experts say strong congressional support for Israel has resulted in Israel receiving benefits not available to any other country.

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