US House of Representatives approves $1 billion for Israel’s Iron Dome


US lawmakers gave the go-ahead for $1 billion on Thursday to resupply Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system after funding was controversially withdrawn from a separate bill following an uprising from the left flank of the Democrats.

The money was originally included in legislation relating to an impending government shutdown and possible debt crisis in October.

But a group of progressives in the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives said they would unless funding for Iron Dome was removed from the wording.

The cash transfer eventually advanced from the House by a comfortable vote of 420 to 9.

“The passage of this bill reflects the great unity in Congress…for Israel’s security,” Nancy Pelosithe leader of the House Democrats, said in a speech to the chamber.

“Assistance to Israel is vital, because Israel’s security is imperative to America’s security.”

Iron Dome destroyed thousands of rockets and short-range shells launched by Hamas militants from Gaza before they could hit populated areas, according to Israeli officials.

It has been backed by the United States since its launch a decade ago to the tune of $1.6 billion, according to the Congressional Research Service.

The progressive group’s decision had angered members of both parties, the House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy denouncing what he called a Democratic capitulation to “the anti-Semitic influence of their radical members”.

dean phillipsa Democratic congressman from Minnesota, tweeted that he was ‘incredulous’ that colleagues would object to defending ‘one of our most important allies and the only Jewish nation in the world’ from Hamas rockets .

Prime Minister of Israel Naftali Bennett thanked both parties for their commitment to the security of the country and the American people for their “unshakeable friendship.”

And later that day, the U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin spoke by telephone with his Israeli counterpart Benny Gantzdiscussing “regional developments, including the need to prevent Iran’s nuclear program from advancing,” the Pentagon said in a statement.

“Minister Gantz also thanked Secretary Austin for the continued support of the U.S. administration and the Pentagon to processes aimed at providing Israel with the necessary means to defend itself and its citizens,” according to the Pentagon.

Funding objections, however, underscored that progressives are growing skeptical of unconditional aid to Israel, three months after Naftali ousted the hard-right prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omarthe first Muslim women in the US Congress, both tweeted their disapproval of the funding, citing human rights abuses against Palestinians and illegal settlement expansion.


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