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Pro-Israel groups split over whether new US spending bill conditions foreign aid

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WASHINGTON (JTA) — To be, or not to be — that is the question when it comes to conditioned aid to Israel.

The annual bill that determines what funds the United States will disburse overseas passed last week, and it has new language of interest to those following Israel discourse.

Here’s a breakdown of the Israel-related content in the Department of State’s Foreign Operations and Related Programs Appropriations Act for 2022, and why it matters.

Israel gets $3.3 billion a year in defense assistance, in addition to $500 million in anti-missile cooperation which is approved in separate defense appropriations.

It passed Wednesday along party lines: Most Democrats voted in favor, all Republicans voted against because of their broader opposition to the Democratic foreign policy priorities. The $3.8 billion for Israel is part of an agreement brokered by the Obama administration in 2016 to fund Israel’s defense by $38 billion over ten years, which has broad bipartisan support.

Both the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the flag-bearer for the traditional pro-Israel community, and J Street, the liberal Jewish Middle East lobby which advocates for pressure on Israel, list the $3.3 billion as a success.

For the first time though, the foreign operations spending bill requires generally (without specifying Israel) that the secretary of state must report to Congress that assistance to other counties is spent “consistent with United States national security policy.”

“The Secretary of State shall promptly inform the appropriate congressional committees of any instance in which the Secretary of State has credible information that such assistance was used in a........

© The Times of Israel

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