The state of Israel will be reaping additional fruits in US President Donald Trump’s $4.4 trillion budget proposal that was released on Monday.
“(For) Israel, the total is $3.3 billion, which is a $200 million increase from the previous year and reflects the newly signed 10-year MOU (memorandum of understanding),” said Hari Sastry, director of the Office of US Foreign Assistance Resources at a press conference on Monday.
The 10-year MOU was signed between Israel and the United States in September 2016, during the latter months of the Obama Administration. The agreement provides Israel with $38 billion in foreign military aid over 10 years. The MOU would also gradually phase out an arrangement whereby Israel’s defense industry receives approximately 25% of the aid package.
Resources would also be allocated in the budget towards moving of the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
“The construction of a U.S. Embassy facility in Jerusalem will be among the Department’s highest priority for capital security investments in FY 2018 and FY 2019,” the budget document read.
Trump’s budget proposal however, did not reflect his prior threats to cut off foreign aid from countries that supported a United Nations (UN) General Assembly resolution condemning his recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Nikki Haley, the US Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley had addressed the General Assembly before the vote in which she threatened repercussions for UN member states that supported the resolution.
“We have an obligation to demand more for our investment,” Hailey had said. “And if our investment fails, we have an obligation to spend our resources in more productive ways.”
A total of 128 countries risked the president’s ire by voting in favor of the resolution, and President Trump doubled-down on this threat in his State of the Union Address two weeks ago.
“I am asking Congress to pass legislation to help ensure American foreign-assistance dollars always serve American interests, and only go to friends of America, not enemies of America,” he said to the Congress.
Sastri explained that the UN vote was not the only consideration in determining the foreign aid budget.
“There’s nothing specific just tied to [the UN vote] because that is only one factor,” Sastri stressed.