Former aide: U.S. aid to Israel may be cut

Oct. 3, 2012 at 7:56 AM
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WASHINGTON, Oct. 3 (UPI) -- A former U.S. congressional staffer warned monetary assistance for Israel's Iron Dome missile defense system may be jeopardized if budget cuts go into effect.

Randy Jennings, a defense industry consultant and former congressional aide, said if planned cuts in the U.S. budget take effect, financial aid for Israel's Iron Dome system and other military expenditures will likely be reduced, The Jerusalem Post said.

"Iron Dome will be cut. ... There will be no sacred cows ... All the programs will be hit," the paper quoted Jennings as saying at a Heritage Foundation panel Tuesday in reference to the sequester, which requires deep cuts in U.S. spending unless Congress acts to block them by the end of the year.

Half of the initial $100 billion in reductions are to come from defense spending. Congress is expected to address the issue after the Nov. 6 elections.

"As sequestration kicks in, the pressures are going to build, I think pretty dramatically, to provide more discretion in terms of how the cuts are applied," said Baker Spring, a national security fellow at The Heritage Foundation who participated in the event.

Lt. Col. Merav Davidovits, an Israeli Embassy liaison officer who also appeared on the panel, said Israel is aware of the economic situation in the United States. She stressed the Iron Dome missile defense system not only protects Israel, but also U.S. interests in the region and provides jobs to Americans, the paper said.

Israel has received hundreds of millions of dollars for the Iron Dome system in addition to $3 billion in annual military assistance from the United States, the paper said.

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