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Will Congress Fund Iron Dome Over Head Start?

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Other speakers at Expose AIPAC included Palestinian human-rights lawyer Jonathan Kuttab and Robert Naiman, policy director at Just Foreign Policy.

Josh Ruebner, writing for The Hill web site, quotes a NAACP estimate that predicts some of the specific impacts on government programs designed to benefit Americans who are most in need:  Across-the-board sequestration cuts, according to NAACP predictions...

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"will result in 100,000 fewer low-income children being prepared for school through Head Start, 17 million fewer "Meals-on-Wheels" delivered to seniors suffering from food insecurity, and 1.6 million fewer unemployed Americans served through job training, education, and employment services."

The Jerusalem Post  describes how the sequestration budget cuts are seen from Tel Aviv:

Israel is concerned that the broad US budget cuts that went into effect Friday evening [March 1] will affect the economy, [Israeli] Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz (pictured here) said at Sunday's weekly cabinet meeting.

Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz photo Hadas Parush

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"'The economic difficulties in the United States worry us.  The across-the-board budget cuts, known as sequestration, are expected to have negative repercussions for the US economy as a whole, and could potentially cut military aid to Israel and defense cooperation on programs such as the Arrow and David's Sling missile defense systems.

"'The threat of such wide-ranging cuts was originally intended to force a fiscal agreement between Democrats and Republicans, but failed to produce results. I hope that we will not be hurt by them,' he said.

"'The international environment is very tough and it is required of us to act responsibly and boldly and to work hard to maintain all of Israel's economy and Israel's citizens,' Steinitz said, adding a plug for parties to drop resistance to joining the government in ongoing coalition talks to ensure a 'strong, stable Israel.'

"The exact implications of the cuts affecting Israel remain unknown, because the specifics of how each agency will cut its budget have yet to be spelled out. ... the total could be as high as $729 million for the year, though sources on Capitol Hill estimated that military aid cuts would be about $85m."

AIPAC's message to Congress, according to the Post, includes "a push to provide Israel with its full $3.1 billion in military aid for 2013 and 2014, as well as $211m. in additional funding for the Iron Dome missile-defense system."

The proposed House bill which would designate Israel as a "major strategic ally," elevates the "new alliance" to a status intended to help Israel retain its promised financial aid.

AIPAC's campaign in Congress calls for:

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"...a push to provide Israel with its full $3.1 billion in military aid for 2013 and 2014, as well as $211m. in additional funding for the Iron Dome missile-defense system."  

The Post acknowledges that there may be consequences within the American public "that attempts to exempt Israel from painful budget cuts while the rest of the US was forced to absorb them would cause a political backlash."

In his examination of how the cuts on each side of the Atlantic will impact American voters, Josh Reubnen adds:

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James Wall is currently a Contributing Editor of The Christian Century magazine, based in Chicago, Illinois. From 1972 through 1999, he was editor and publisher of the Christian Century magazine. Many sources have influenced Jim's writings over (more...)

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