- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Israel is poised to receive $173 million for its missile defense program from the United States, as lawmakers signed off on a new spending plan to help protect the nation from Hezbollah’s growing arsenal.

The Jerusalem Post reported that Israeli intelligence believes the radical group with ties to Iran and based in Lebanon has about 5,000 long-range missiles at its disposal, and all are capable of reaching Tel Aviv. The missiles can carry between 1,300 pounds and one ton of explosive material, United Press International reported.

Members of both the House and Senate Armed Services Committee unveiled spending plans earlier this week that included bolstered funding for missile defense — with a boost of $173 million specifically for Israel’s joint projects with the United States.

That money is different and separate from the $3.1 billion the United States already sends to Israel via military budget items each year, UPI said.

The bill still has to receive full Congress approval. But members want the item decided before the end of the year, UPI said. About $34 million of the pot would go to improve the existing Arrow 3 system, a joint project of Israel Aerospace Industries and Boeing Co. in the United States, UPI said.