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US approves $1 billion funding for Israel’s Iron Dome

The United States House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly to provide $1 billion to Israel for its Iron Dome anti-missile aerial defense system.

By Erin Viner

After passing by 420 in favor with 9 against and 2 abstentions, the measure will now be forwarded to the Senate for approval.

The 8 Democratic House Representatives who voted against Bill HR 5323 were Rashida Tlaib (Michigan), Ilhan Omar (Minnesota), Ayanna Pressley (Massachusetts), Cori Bush (Missouri), Andre Carson (Indiana), Raúl Grijalva (Arizona), Marie Newman and Jesús García (both of Illinois). The lone Republican naysayer was Tom Massie (Kentucky). The 2 Democrats who chose to abstain were Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (New York) and Hank Johnson (Georgia).

The House’s Democratic leaders immediately vowed to introduce a “standalone bill” to provide the Iron Dome funding, after the most radical members of the party – led by Ocasio-Cortez – had forced the matter to be removed from a broader spending bill that passed on Tuesday.

American lawmakers on both sides of the political aisle have long demonstrated strong support of the Jewish State, and centrist Democrats and led Republicans were angered over erasure of the Iron Dome clause from the wider law.

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett responded in a statement to the reaffirmed American backing of the critical missile defense system, which is credited with saving thousands of lives.

“Thank you to the members of the US House of Representatives, Democrats and Republicans alike, for the overwhelming support for Israel and for the commitment to its security,” he said, underscoring, “The people of Israel thank the American people and their representatives for their steadfast friendship.”

In a message directed at opponents of his nation, the Israeli leader added, “Whoever tries to challenge this support received an unequivocal answer today.”

The $1 billion in the Iron Dome funding bill is intended to replenish missile interceptors Israel used to ward off rockets fired at Israel by Palestinian terrorists during the 11-day Operation Guardian of the Walls conflict between the sides last May.

“The Iron Dome is a system designed to protect and  save lives,” stressed Israeli Minister of Defense Benny Gantz, adding, “We saw this clearly in May 2021 when terrorist group Hamas launched over 4000 missiles at schools, hospitals, homes – Israeli population centers–  and Iron Dome shot them down.”

Lt. Gen. (res) Gantz, a former IDF Chief of Staff, said that,  “On behalf of Israel’s defense establishment, I would like to thank Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Chairwoman of Appropriations Rosa DeLauro, Ranking Member of Appropriations Kay Granger and members of the US House of Representatives for demonstrating their commitment to Israel’s security and for backing the replenishment of interceptors for the Iron Dome Missile defense system.”

Going on to emphasize that “US support for our missile defense system on a bipartisan basis is critical for Israel’s defense against rocket attacks conducted by terrorist groups such as Hamas in Gaza – but not only,” Defense Minister Gantz reminded the lawmakers that, “Israel’s borders are surrounded by malign actors and terrorist groups who seek to harm our civilians and destroy the only Jewish State.” He then reiterated gratitude to the US government “for recognizing the threats to civilian lives and for its steadfast support for the security of the State of Israel.”

In a later personal conversation, Minister Gantz also thanked US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin for the continued support of the Biden Administration and the Pentagon “for the processes to equip Israel with the means necessary to defend itself and its citizens.” According to a Defense Ministry statement obtained by TV7, the two defense leaders also discussed “regional developments including the need to stop the Iranian nuclear program from advancing.”