For as long as the state of Israel has existed, the United States has been Israel’s greatest friend and partner, a fact underscored again today. This commitment to Israel’s security has been unwavering and is based on a genuine and abiding concern for the welfare of the Israeli people and the future of the State of Israel.
For as long as the State of Israel has existed, the United States has been Israel’s greatest friend and partner. That ironclad bond has endured l’dor va’dor, from generation to generation, across parties and administrations
Since the day he took office, President Obama has consistently provided Israel with all the support it needs to defend itself. Over the past eight years, the United States has provided Israel with almost $24 billion in military aid. We’ve invested over $3 billion in Iron Dome and other missile defense technologies, which have saved countless Israeli lives. This funding has permitted Israel to acquire the world’s most advanced military capabilities. This year, for instance, we’re delivering the F-35 fighter jet, making Israel the only Middle Eastern nation with this cutting-edge aircraft. We are proud that no other American administration in history has done more for Israel’s security.
Today, we’re making another unprecedented commitment to the security of Israel and the Israeli people. Today, we are signing a memorandum of understanding—or a MOU—to provide Israel $38 billion in military aid over ten years, including $33 billion in foreign military financing funds and an unprecedented commitment of $5 billion for missile defense. This marks a significant increase over our existing funding, and it will ensure that Israel has the support it needs to defend itself by itself and to preserve its qualitative military edge.
This is the single largest pledge of military assistance—to any country—in American history.
At a time when we’re tightening our belts across the board, with the harmful “sequestration” spending cuts set to return in several years, this MOU nonetheless greatly increases our military assistance commitment to Israel. That’s not an accident. It’s a reminder of the United States’ unshakeable commitment to Israel’s security. This additional funding will, among other things, allow Israel to update the lion’s share of its fighter aircraft fleet, including the acquisition of additional F-35s and F-15s. It will also enable Israel to substantially enhance the mobility of its ground forces.
And, as Israel continues to face the threat of rocket fire, this funding will help Israel to further strengthen missile defense systems like Iron Dome. For years, the United States’ funding for Israeli missile defense has been subject to the uncertainty of the annual appropriations process. Some years, the amount of missile defense funding has been unclear for months at a time. Some years, it has even declined. With this funding, Israel will be able to count on a steady multi-year commitment. And greater certainty for Israel will breed greater security for Israel.
As we strengthen Israel’s security for the coming decade, we also remain committed to Israel’s security over the long-term. That’s why we worked with our international partners to achieve an Iran nuclear deal that has closed off every one of Iran’s paths to obtaining a nuclear weapon, which we will continue to vigorously enforce. That’s also why we continue to press for a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict—two states for two peoples, living side by side in peace and security. As the President has said, the only way for Israel to endure and thrive as a Jewish and democratic state is through the realization of an independent and viable Palestine.
This MOU is not just good for Israel—it’s good for the United States. Our security is linked—when allies and partners like Israel are more secure, the United States is more secure. Moreover, our Israeli friends will be able to buy more of the advanced capabilities produced by the United States, which will support American jobs. Like so many aspects of the U.S.-Israeli relationship, this MOU is win-win.
As National Security Advisor, I know better than to predict with full confidence what the future will hold. We cannot know exactly what the next ten years will bring—what opportunities and threats will arise; what challenges we’ll face. But what we do know, and what this MOU underscores, is that the United States will always be there for the State of Israel and the Israeli people—today, tomorrow, and for many years to come.