Senate Adopts Bill Dramatically Strengthening U.S.-Israel Relationship

AIPAC Press Release
Senate Adopts Bill Dramatically Strengthening U.S.-Israel Relationship

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.