US President Barack Obama has proposed a budget for 2013 that will include a 6 percent cut from US support for Israel’s missile defense systems, Ynetnews reported on Tuesday.
The proposed package for 2013 is $99.8 million, down $6.3 million from $106.1 million in 2012.
The Israeli government has yet to make an official response to news of the cuts, Ynet said.
According to the Ynet report, US officials noted that this is the second time in as many years that the Obama Administration has reduced funding for Israel’s Short Range Ballistic Missile Defense program and the Arrow System Improvement Program. The 2013 budget has dropped more than $20 million from the 2011 amount of $121.7 million.
The latest budget proposal has drawn criticism from pro-Israel factions for coming at a time when Israel faces missile threats from Iran, Hezbollah and Gaza.
Israel is currently striving to further improve the Arrow anti-ballistic missile system, intended to defeat incoming long-range rockets.
Haaretz reported that the annual $3 billion military aid package to Israel would remain unchanged, while funding for a future Palestinian state would be dependent on firm commitments to peaceful co-existence with Israel and combating terror in the West Bank and Gaza.
The US’s own ballistic missile program will also shrink, with $700 million cut from a budget of about $9 billion.
Matt Brooks, executive director of the Republican Jewish Coalition, denounced the cuts as irresponsible. ”For an administration which tried to claim that it’s the best for Israel’s security, cutting critical funds for missile defense at a time when the threat from Iran has never been greater is extremely dangerous, worrisome and reckless,” he said.
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