As Mitt Romney prepares to travel to Israel this weekend, President Obama announced today that he is releasing an additional $70 million in military aid for Israel.
The new funding is intended to help Israel boost production of a short-range rocket defense system, known as Iron Dome. “This is a program that has been critical in terms of providing security and safety for Israeli families. It is a program that has been tested and has prevented missile strikes inside of Israel… We’re going to be able to lock in that funding to assure that that program continues and that we are standing by our friends in Israel when it comes to these kinds of attacks,” Obama told reporters in the Oval Office today.
As he reiterated his administration’s commitment to Israel, the president flubbed the amount of new aid, initially giving the correct $70 million figure and later saying it was actually $70 billion.
The president made the announcement as he signed the United States-Israel Enhanced Security Cooperation Act. “What this legislation does is bring together all the outstanding cooperation that we have seen really at an unprecedented level between our two countries to underscore our unshakable commitment to Israel’s security,” Obama explained.
The White House maintains the timing of today’s announcement and bill signing was not intended to upstage Romney’s foreign trip.