Published on : 02/13/2018
By : Arista Asmawati
A president's budget allows the White House to lay out its priorities for the year but is not legally binding.
Israel will receive $3.3 billion in funding from the United States under President Donald Trump's Fiscal Year 2019 budget request for the Department of State, a US official announced at a department briefing on Monday.
Hari Sastry, the Director of the Office of US Foreign Assistance Resources at the State Department, noted that Israel will receive a bump of $200 million in aid under the proposed budget.
The administration wants $39.3 billion for the State Department and the US Agency for International Development, a reduction of about one-third from 2017 spending, but proposed an increase in funding to its Middle East ally.
"[For] Israel, the total is $3.3 billion, which is a $200 million increase from the previous year and reflects the newly signed 10-year MOU [memorandum of understanding]," he said.
In September, the US and Israel signed a 10-year MOU providing $38 billion in defense aid to Israel through 2028
. The budget request
explains the $3.3 billion request provides "assistance to bolster Israel’s capacity to defend itself and maintain its qualitative military edge."
Sastry downplayed the role of December's United Nations vote
slamming Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital and pledge to relocate the embassy there in any budget decision.
"Our foreign assistance, the President and the Secretary [of State Rex Tillerson] continue to believe, should be aligned to US interests, so this budget certainly reflects that. Voting in multilateral fora is one factor to consider among many, but there are – if you look at our budget, it is focused on where we think the most appropriate assistance level should be based on where our security needs are."
He reiterated that the vote was just "one factor" in deciding the funding requests.A fact sheet released by the Department of State
in conjunction with the budget request noted "prioritizing funding