Israel is a vital ally of the United States located in a very dangerous neighborhood. It is surrounded by countries whose occupants want to wipe it off the map. And yet Israel remains a force for stability in the region and the only democracy in the Middle East.
When terrorists fire rockets at Israeli citizens, the Iron Dome protects them. Iron Dome is an air defense system developed and produced jointly by Israel and the United States. Iron Dome has the capability to identify incoming projectiles, analyze whether they will land in populated areas, and launch its own ‘interceptor’ missiles to destroy those rockets that threaten civilians. In a testament to Israeli and American technological genius, Iron Dome intercepts 90% of incoming rockets.
Throughout my time on the Appropriations Committee, I have fought every year to provide the necessary funding for Iron Dome. And up until now, it has been supported in a non-controversial and bipartisan way.
That is why it was incredibly disappointing earlier this week to have the Democratic leaders of the House of Representatives suddenly and without warning strip Iron Dome funding out of a largely agreed-upon spending bill.
The removal was a shot heard round the world, emboldening terrorists and distressing our allies. The Democrats appeared entirely beholden to their most extreme anti-Israel members.
Working with my Republican colleagues, I quickly put forward a motion to restore the Iron Dome funding that had been cut, only to be blocked by the Democrats. The opportunity to show the Israeli people that America stands with them against terrorism had been dashed by the Democratic leadership’s fear of the radical anti-Israel faction of their Conference.
Thanks to incredible activism by the pro-Israel community and those of us in Congress who stand with our Israeli friends, the House of Representatives voted again on funding for the Iron Dome system, and finally passed it by an overwhelming vote of 420 to 9.
The fact that such a small number of opponents could nearly derail funding for a defensive system used by a close American ally should deeply concern not just the pro-Israel community, but everyone who cares about America’s global leadership and partners.
I am disappointed at how far we have gotten away from the traditional bipartisan support for Israel and all our allies. But I am relieved that this critical funding passed the House of Representatives and hope it will quickly become law.
The United States must never let politics get in the way of conscience and priority. Our word must be reliable, and we must stand by our commitments.
And the United States of America should never, ever turn its back on our noble partner and friend, Israel.
I will always stand with the great State of Israel.
Member of Congress