WASHINGTON (JTA) — A bipartisan bill introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives would strengthen the processes that have ensured Israel’s qualitative military edge.
Under the legislation introduced Friday, the president would be required to consult with officials in the Israeli government about their defense needs before authorizing arms sales or defense items to countries in the Middle East.
Reps. Brad Schneider, D-Ill., and Claudia Tenney, R-N.Y., introduced the Defending Israel’s QME Act of 2017.
“The United States must continue to ensure that Israel, our closest, most reliable ally in the Middle East, if not the world, has the tools to maintain its qualitative military edge over those who seek to do it harm,” Schneider said.
The legislation comes as Congress is considering a possible $350 billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia that has caused U.S. and Israeli leaders to question the future of Israel’s qualitative military edge in the Middle East.
The Defending Israel’s QME Act also would expand on existing laws by including non-state actors such as the Islamic State, or ISIS, in the assessment process. The Reagan administration was the first to explicitly commit to Israel’s qualitative military edge.
“With the conflict in Syria, uncertainty regarding Iran, and the growth of ISIS, Israel faces more threats than ever and from all sides,” Tenney said in a statement. ” At the same time, the country remains the region’s great democracy and our longstanding ally.
“This bill reaffirms our commitment to Israel’s security by raising the bar for future military sales to other actors in the region.”