September 19, 2014
AIPAC applauds the U.S. Senate
for adopting the United States-Israel Strategic Partnership Act
(S.2673). This bill will dramatically strengthen and expand the U.S.-Israel
alliance as a way to confront new threats and challenges in the Middle East.
This bipartisan bill was authored by Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Roy Blunt
(R-MO) and garnered a total of 81 co-sponsors.
By declaring in legislation that Israel is a “major strategic partner” of the United States, the bill lays the foundation for expanded U.S.-Israel cooperation in a wide variety of spheres, including defense, intelligence, homeland security, cyber security, energy, water, agriculture, and alternative fuel technologies.
Included in the legislation are these major provisions:
- Declares that Israel is a “major strategic partner” of the United States.
- Expands authority for forward-deployed U.S. weapons stockpiles in Israel, providing additional critical military equipment for either nation to use in a crisis.
- Upgrades Israel’s trade status to expedite export licensing.
- Encourages the inclusion of Israel in the Visa Waiver Program, which will help facilitate travel to the United States by Israeli citizens without needing a visa.
- Authorizes the president to provide assistance to promote cooperation in such fields as energy, water, homeland security, agriculture and alternative fuel technologies.
- Creates new mechanisms to connect America and Israel in enhanced energy cooperation, including the establishment of a U.S.-Israel Center of Excellence in energy and water engineering, and supports the development of R&D and academic partnership opportunities.
- Increases the frequency and detail of U.S. government reporting on Israel's qualitative military edge.
In March, the House adopted a companion bill, H.R. 938, authored by Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Ted Deutch (D-FL), Ed Royce (R-CA) and Eliot Engel (D-NY). AIPAC urges the Senate and House to move quickly to reconcile the two versions of the legislation and send it to the President for his signature.