Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday dismisses widespread “panic” over reports implying the US government is refusing to increase financial aid for Israeli missile defense.
“Attempts to turn the dialogue with the US into a domestic Israeli political tool are improper, and all expressions of panic are not warranted,” his office says in a statement.
While not denying the reports, which led opposition politicians to harshly criticize Netanyahu, a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office insists that American aid for the missile defense system protecting Israel will not only not be cut, but will increase.
On Tuesday, the White House said it was opposed to a move by the House of Representatives to increase funding for Israeli missile defense procurement by an additional $455 million above the administration’s budget request for the 2017 fiscal year.
Despite “multiple misleading reports,” the PMO says, “there is no cut in US aid.” Rather, there is an “internal debate” between Congress and the White House over the size of the annual increase to the American missile defense program.
Netanyahu is seeking to anchor this additional aid as a part of his ongoing negotiations over the extension of an US-Israel memorandum of understanding, which regulates US military aid to Israel, the statement notes.
“Not only will the security assistance for missile defense not be cut, it will be increased.”
— Raphael Ahren