Remarks by National Security Advisor Susan E. Rice at Palmachim Air Force Base, Israel
Good morning everyone, it’s really wonderful to be back in Israel, and I want to start by congratulating the people of Israel on your celebration of 66 years of independence this week. I met with President Peres and Prime Minister Netanyahu on my visit over the last couple of days, and I had a chance to convey President Obama’s warmest wishes as well.
I want to begin by saying to Yossi and General Shohat, as you know I just had the opportunity to take a tour and see the outstanding work you’re doing to keep the Israeli people secure. Visiting this base, it’s clear that the strength and depth of the security cooperation between Israel and the United States has never been greater. Indeed under President Obama’s leadership, we’ve taken our security cooperation to unprecedented levels.
Just two months ago, our governments signed an agreement, under which nearly half a billion dollars from the United States will be invested in the Iron Dome system. That will take our total investment in Iron Dome, which has saved countless Israeli lives, to nearly $900 million – a sign of our continued commitment to Israel’s security. We’re going to fund additional batteries that will protect more Israeli communities, military bases, and critical infrastructure from rocket and mortar attacks. And that’s why, here at Palmachim Air Force Base, where brave Israeli men and women in uniform operate cutting edge American and Israeli technology, there can be no doubt whatsoever: America’s commitment to Israel’s security is unwavering and ironclad.
Together, we’ve made enormous progress in our missile defense technology, including in the Arrow 3 and David’s Sling programs. But obviously, our work is not done. We will continue our joint research, our joint investment and our joint training. We remain deeply committed to Israel’s qualitative military edge, and this impressive facility and all the work being done here is a wonderful example of that enduring partnership.
The American people care deeply about the people of Israel. We admire your commitment to advancing the values of a free and open society, while facing the uncertainties of living in a very challenging neighborhood. Our two nations are forever bound by our shared history and our shared values, and every American dollar spent on Israel’s security is an investment in protecting the many interests that our nations share—whether that’s preventing rockets from terrorizing the Israeli people, defending against the growing ballistic missile threat in the region, or advancing our commitment to defend freedom and democracy.
Thank you all for your service and for your friendship with the American people.