Iron Dome is cash cow for U.S. and Israeli industries
June 4, 2012
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For many years the United States and Israel have been working together on the Iron Dome system, meant to intercept incoming short-range missiles. Israel claims that since the introduction of the Iron Dome last year, it has shot down some 90 missiles launched from Gaza.
Mid-May Israeli Defence minister Ehud Barak visited Washington to discuss further cooperation in the area of missile defence. The United States continues funding the Iron Dome – built by Israeli company Rafael – with $70 million in assistance this year, with more funding likely in the future. U.S. Defence Secretary Leon Panetta called the aid “part of our rock solid commitment to Israel’s security”, which comes on top of approximately $3 billion in annual security assistance. Previously Washington already delivered $205 million in assistance for the missile defence system.
However, the announcement fell short of predictions published in Israel’s Haaretz daily that Washington was ready to commit to $680 million to pay for more anti-rocket batteries.
Assistance for two other systems – given fantasy names as if it is a children’s game – has already been approved. These are the high-altitude Arrow 3 built by state-owned Israel Aerospace Industries and designed to intercept Iranian and Syrian ballistic missiles, and David’s Sling, another Rafael system intended to counter medium-range missiles. Arrow is to get $119 million, with David’s Sling, also known as Magic Wand, will receive $165 million. According to the Congressional Research Service Israel is the largest cumulative recipient of U.S. foreign assistance since World War II. As of 2012, the United States has provided Israel with a total $115 billion.
Barak thanked the US for its support and said that Israeli-US military ties had never been as strong as they were today under the Obama administration. ‘The US decision to support further enhancing Israel’s security is an important demonstration of the unbreakable bonds between the United States and Israel’, Barak said.