Why is Israel Being Singled Out? (Part 2)

Everyone stands to lose as the shutdown of the government continues into its second week. This shutdown has left almost 800,000 federal employees in our country furloughed without pay, and its effects are being felt abroad, as well.
Israel, America’s staunch ally and the only real democracy in the Middle East, has been given notice.
According to Marie Harf, U.S. State Department deputy spokeswoman, “The State Department’s ability to provide military assistance to Israel and other allies in the time frame that is expected and customary could be hindered, depending on the length of the shutdown…Security assistance funding for Israel is typically provided in early to mid-November, and an extended shutdown has the potential to disrupt this critical military assistance program…Without a continuing resolution or a full-year appropriation, fiscal year 2014 security assistance funding for Israel will be delayed.”
Israel enjoys strong support from both Republicans and Democrats in Congress and is the largest recipient of U.S. military funding. The Obama administration sought $3.1 million for the 2014 fiscal year which began on October 1st. However, it is considering an increase in its anticipated 10-year package which will cover the 2018-27 fiscal years.
Why was Israel distinguished from all of our other allies in the State Department statement? Could this be a subtle (or not so subtle) message to pro-Israel groups lobbying in Congress? Or could it be Mr. Obama’s message to Republicans to convince them that the federal government must reopen?
Although U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has ruled out any long-term effect from the shutdown, he did say that it would delay payments for security aid to Israel and support for a U.S. led peacekeeping mission in the Sinai peninsula, which separates Israel from Egypt.
Vice President Joe Biden’s words to a pro-Israel lobbying organization- “If there were not an Israel, we would have to invent one to make sure our interests were preserved. America’s support for Israel’s security is unshakable, period, period, period” – may be very reassuring.
But this is another wait-and-see situation. Time will tell…

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