Israeli Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz
Israeli Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz said at Sunday’s weekly cabinet meeting that “The economic difficulties in the United States worry us,” adding, “I hope that we will not be hurt by them.”
He made the comment after US President Barack Obama on Friday signed into effect the spending cuts, known as the sequester, which will shave USD 85 billion off the US federal budget in 2013. About half of the cuts, 43 billion dollars, will affect the US military sector.
This comes as the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) that has started its annual policy conference in Washington on Sunday, is set to push the US to provide Tel Aviv with its full USD 3.1 billion in military aid for 2013 and 2014.
AIPAC is the one of the most powerful lobbies in the United States. It works to influence US foreign and domestic policy for the interest of Israel. The group also guarantees billions of dollars in military aid for Israel.
Meanwhile on Saturday, Israeli ambassador to the US Michael Oren said that Tel Aviv was working to salvage the US annual aid and military funding for development of missile systems.
Oren stressed that the Israeli regime would “continue to have discussions with the [American] administration and with Congress” in an effort to maintain the extent of the aid to the development and manufacturing of the Iron Dome as well as Arrow and Magic Wand missile systems.
Israel receives more than USD 3 billion from the United States in direct foreign assistance every year. It also gets USD 70 million more in military aid for its missile systems.