Israel asked US Congress to drastically increase funding for its missile defense program from $158 million, US President Barack Obama requested for fiscal year 2015, to almost $500 million, according to media reports.
In early February, Yair Ramati, who heads Israel’s missile defense organization, met with US lawmakers to outline the proposal asking additional funding for two missile systems.
Israel seeks $250 million for David’s Sling and $35 million for Arrow III, jointly produced by Boeing and Israel Aerospace Industries. David’s Sling is aimed at intercepting large-caliber artillery rockets, cruise missiles and short-range ballistic missiles, while Arrow III is an anti-ballistic missile system.
Israel decided to bypass the White House and Pentagon with its request for funding increase at a time when Israel’s relations with the United States are strained over Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to the US. Israeli prime minister is expected to speak before a joint meeting of US Congress, slated for March 3. The Obama administration claims the visit will only complicate the bilateral relations.