The United States has passed a bill strengthening relations with Israel and elevating Tel Aviv as its “major strategic partner”.
Over three-quarters of US Senate members unanimously voted to the United States-Israel Strategic Partnership Act on Thursday.
Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Roy Blunt (R-MO) along with 81 co-sponsors authored the legislation out of a total of 100 Senators.
“America’s long-standing relationship and strong cooperation with Israel dates back to the presidency of fellow Missourian Harry S. Truman,” Senator Blunt said following the bill’s passage.
The bill improves Israel’s trade status and requires Washington and Tel Aviv increase cooperation on energy, water and other arenas.
It will also enhance the value of US weapons stockpiles in Israel by $200 million to $1.8 billion and further facilitate Tel Aviv’s access to the weaponry.
“I’m pleased the Senate has passed this bipartisan bill to reaffirm and broaden the important US-Israel alliance through security, energy, and trade during this critical time in the Middle East region,” Blunt stated.
Furthermore, Israel will be able to benefit from the US visa waiver program. The bill makes Israel’s inclusion into the program possible and affirms its ability to join the visa waiver program “as long as she meets existing requirements”.
The bill, if receives final approval from the White House, will guarantee Israel’s long-term security over the next 10 years.
Israel had been regarded as “major non-NATO ally,” of the United States since 1988.
An analogous bill was passed by the House of Representatives in March.