Obama signs Israel security bill on eve of Romney visit
US president seeks to reassure on commitment to Israel, says bill underscores his administration's "unshakeable commitment" to Israel's security; Romney chips away at Obama support among Jewish voters.
Obama stands for moment of silence Photo: REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
WASHINGTON - US President Barack Obama signed a bill on Friday to strengthen US-Israeli military ties as he sought to reassure American Jewish voters of his commitment to the two countries' close alliance on the eve of a visit to Israel by his Republican rival, Mitt Romney. Obama used a White House ceremony to announce the United States would soon provide Israel with an additional $70 million in funding for its short-range rocket shield known as "Iron Dome," a project strongly backed by the powerful US pro-Israel lobby.
His focus on strengthening cooperation with Israel appeared timed to upstage Romney, who has accused the president of undermining Washington's relationship with its number one partner in the Middle East. Romney, whose Olympics-week visit to London has been plagued by diplomatic stumbles, will travel on Saturday to Israel, a stop his aides hope will resonate with Jewish voters at home. He is expected to hold talks on Sunday with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who has had a strained relationship with Obama.
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