In Depth: Sponsoring Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) explained in a press release that the bill was critical to ensuring Israel’s security:
“A new MoU between the United States and Israel is needed to help guarantee Israel's safety and security in the face of these new threats and challenges. That is why it is incumbent upon the Obama administration to conclude a new, robust and long-term MoU with Israel that will increase the amount of assistance over the current agreement, expand its scope, and to do so expeditiously.”
However, some have argued that U.S. foreign aid to Israel should be stopped due to Israel’s human rights record. As stated by Noura Erakat, assistant professor at George Mason University:
“The Department of State annually notes Israel’s systematic abuse of human rights against Palestinians. Congress has nevertheless renewed aid to Israel without scrutiny either by willful ignorance or disregard. In the eyes of our 535 elected representatives, Israel can do no wrong.”
Of Note: In February 2016, President Obama proposed a new MoU to Israel, including an aid package that would give Israel $30 billion over 10 years. Obama’s aid package would give Israel much more control over where the money goes, but it would also prevent Israel for asking for more money in almost all cases. This condition of not being able to ask for more money could seriously impact Israel because since 2009, Israel has acquired an extra $1.9 billion compared to what was originally authorized.
U.S. military assistance to Israel makes up 55 percent of total U.S. military aid, and one quarter of Israel’s total defense budget comes from the U.S. According to a White House report, Israel has received $20 billion in U.S. military aid since 2009. The same report finds that in the past year, the U.S. opposed 18 resolutions in the United Nations that were biased against Israel.