Israel asks Congress to include it in sequester cuts

Israel has asked Congress not to exempt it from aid cuts under the sequestration.

Budget sequestration, a law passed in 2011 and triggered in March of this year when Congress and the administration failed to agree on a budget, mandates across-the-board cuts of about 8 percent. Israel has requested that any budget cuts apply equally to the defense assistance it receives annually from the U.S. government.

Michael Oren, the Israeli ambassador to Washington, confirmed the request.

“The American people are bearing the burden of sequestration and we will bear that burden with them,” he said in a statement.

In the coming fiscal year, Israel is due to receive $3.1 billion in defense assistance with an additional $607 million for its Iron Dome anti-missile system, which Israel says was instrumental in repelling rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip during last November’s war. Also potentially affected would be more than $450 million in American contributions to joint U.S.-Israel anti-missile programs. — jta