Obama signs law strengthening U.S.-Israel alliance

Marcy Oster

(JTA) — President Obama signed a law that strengthens the U.S.-Israel alliance.

The 2014 United States-Israel Strategic Partnership Act, which unanimously passed the House of Representatives earlier this month and unanimously passed in the Senate in September, declares Israel a “major strategic partner” of the United States, thus expanding authority for U.S. weapons stockpiles in Israel and upgrading Israel’s trade status to expedite export licensing.

President Obama signed the legislation on Friday in Washington.

It also encourages the inclusion of Israel in the United States’ visa waiver program if it meets program requirements. Cooperation between the two countries in the fields of energy, water, homeland security, agriculture and alternative fuel technologies also is included in the legislation.

Jewish organizations have commended Congress for its support.

One of the bill’s authors praised Obama for his support of the legislation.

“I applaud the President for signing this bill to strengthen our historic relationship with Israel,” said Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), who introduced the bi-partisan legislation with Sen. Blunt (R-MO). “This law will enhance cooperation between Israel and the United States on a wide range of issues – from defense to energy to cyber security – so we can work together to address the many challenges facing both countries.”