Bipartisan bill aims to strengthen US ties with Israel

Middle East Monitor  /  April 20, 2021

Pro-Israel US lawmakers have proposed a bipartisan bill that would provide $30 million over five years to companies that partner with their counterparts in the occupation state. The move is an effort to facilitate joint cybersecurity partnership programmes between the United States and Israel through a grant programme at the Department of Homeland Security to “promote cooperative research and development between the United States and Israel on cybersecurity.”

Washington is said to be grappling with cyberattacks from Russia, including the recent hack of the information technology firm SolarWinds. The legislation is believed to be a response to that threat.

The bill seeks to fund research by a range of actors, including government entities, private companies, non-profit organisations, and academic institutions, on the condition that they partner with corresponding entities in Israel. It is being sponsored by Senators Jacky Rosen, Susan Collins, Sheldon Whitehouse, and Todd Young in the Senate, and Congressmen Jim Langevin and Andrew Garbarino in the House of Representatives.

“As cybersecurity threats continue to grow in scale, frequency, and sophistication, it’s critical that we find innovative solutions to acquire new technologies,” said Rosen in a statement reported by Politico. She serves on the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, and has described herself as “a steadfast voice for continued US security assistance to Israel.”

Rosen added that the legislation aims to “stay ahead of the curve” against hackers and that the “bipartisan legislation would enable greater collaboration between the United States and Israel — a major hub for new and emerging cybersecurity technologies.”