Ahead of Mitt Romney’s arrival in Jerusalem, President Obama on Friday signed a bill increasing military aid to Israel by $70 million.
During the bill signing ceremony, Obama said: “I have made it a top priority for my administration to deepen cooperation with Israel across the whole spectrum of security issues — intelligence, military, technology. And, in many ways, what this legislation does is bring together all the outstanding cooperation that we have seen, really, at an unprecedented level between our two countries that underscore our unshakeable commitment to Israel security.”
Romney’s first foreign trip as a presidential candidate got off to a rocky start on Thursday, when he offended British officials by questioning London’s readiness to host the Olympics. The campaign is using the Israel trip to highlight what Romney sees as Obama’s failure to maintain tight ties with the country.
The increased U.S. aid to Israel will help expand production of a short-range rocket defense system known as Iron Dome, the Associated Press reports.
Obama said that Defense Secretary Leon Panetta will travel to Israel to “further consult and find additional ways that we can ensure such cooperation at a time when, frankly, the region is experiencing heightened tensions.”
David Taintor is TPM’s News Editor. He contributes to TPM’s Livewire coverage, among other areas. David is from Chanhassen, Minnesota, where, yes, it gets very cold. Reach him at taintor [at] talkingpointsmemo.com