President Trump signs defense bill including anti-missile and anti-tunnel aid to Israel

President Donald Trump has signed a $717 billion annual defense policy bill on Monday, which includes $550 million in assistance to Israel and temporarily halts the sale of F-35 fighter jets to Turkey.

This comes amid tensions between the United States and Ankara, which is currently holding an American pastor hostage, among other political moves.

The bill includes $500 million in anti-missile defense aid and $50 million in anti-tunnel assistance. It also authorizes a joint US-Israeli assessment of the types of precision-guided munitions necessary for Israel to defend itself against Hezbollah and Hamas, mandating rapid acquisition and deployment for such arms.

Trump signs defense bill including anti-missile defense aid and anti-tunnel aid to Israel (2).jpg

The law also encourages increased cooperation between NASA and Israel Space Agency, extends the US War Reserve Stockpile Ammunition in Israel by five years and authorizes a joint US-Israeli counter-drone program.

President Trump specifically highlighted a 2.6 percent raise for military personnel authorized in the bill, telling the Army’s 10th Mountain Division – one of the most-deployed divisions of the Army to Iraq and Afghanistan since 9/11 – that “we think our war-fighters deserve the equipment … they have earned with their blood, sweat, and tears.”