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December 18, 2019 11:32 am

House Passes Appropriations Bill With $3.3 Billion for Israel, Jewish-Related Priorities

avatar by JNS.org

The House of Representatives Building and the East Portico of the US Capitol. Photo: Flickr.

JNS.org – The US House of Representatives passed a $1.37 trillion appropriations bill on Tuesday that includes the annual $3.3 billion in security assistance to Israel. It also addresses other Jewish and Israel-related priorities.

No US aid will go to the Palestinian Authority. Since the United States cut aid to the PA in March 2018 and under the Taylor Force Act, the PA’s program of rewarding terrorists and their families is not being supported.

Up to $30 million is allocated to boost reconciliation programs for Israelis and Palestinians.

There is also no US funding for the UN Human Rights Council, which the United States withdrew from in June 2018.

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The legislation does not include the $175 million requested by the Trump administration for economic assistance to the Palestinians as part of its Mideast peace plan, the economic part which was introduced at the Bahrain summit in June. The rejection was solely due to budgetary considerations, reported Haaretz, citing a source close to the budget negotiations.

The bill consists of $90 million for the US Department of Homeland Security’s Nonprofit Security Grant Program (NSGP) that seeks to protect non-profit institutions, including synagogues. This is a 50 percent increase over last year’s $60 million funding.

The NSGP provides grants of up to $100,000 each to non-profits at risk of terrorist attacks so they may improve building security by acquiring and installing items ranging from fences, lighting and video surveillance to metal detectors and blast-resistant doors, locks and windows. Funding may also be used to train staff and pay for contracted security personnel.

The NSGP has become more critical for the Jewish community in the aftermath of the Oct. 27, 2018 mass shooting at the Tree of Life*Or L’Simcha Synagogue in Pittsburgh, where 11 Jewish worshippers were killed, and six months later, the April 27 shooting at Chabad of Poway in Southern California, where one woman was killed and three others injured.

“The many attacks on our Jewish communal institutions highlight the tremendous need for additional measures to keep our community safe,” said Orthodox Union President Mark Bane in a statement. “We have a responsibility to protect people whether at prayer, at school and in other potentially vulnerable places.”

The bill expresses support for collaboration between Israel, Greece and Cyprus, especially in the energy sector. The East-Med pipeline will connect Israel and the European Union. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has been involved in the talks between the three allies, meeting with the leaders of the three countries back in March.

Finally, around $60.39 million is allocated for the US Holocaust Memorial Museum through 2022.

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