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June 2, 2021 5:16 pm

Bipartisan Group of 55 US House Members Support More Funds for Israel’s Iron Dome Missile Defense

avatar by Algemeiner Staff

Israel’s Iron Dome anti-missile system fires to intercept a rocket launched from the Gaza Strip towards Israel, as seen from Ashkelon, Israel May 12, 2021. REUTERS/Amir Cohen

A bipartisan group of 55 members of the US House of Representatives wrote to US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin on Wednesday in support of more American funding for Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system, which intercepted hundreds of rockets during the country’s conflict with the Hamas militant group.

“As Members of Congress who are deeply committed to Israel’s security, we write to express our strong support for the Biden Administration’s ironclad commitment to Israel’s safety and security, including replenishing Israel’s stock of interceptors for the Iron Dome missile defense system and other important matters,” said the group, spearheaded by Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ).

Israel Defense Minister Benny Gantz is due to visit Washington, DC on Thursday to meet with Austin and other US officials, in part to discuss US military aid to Israel and the strengthening of the Iron Dome system.

“Terrorists in Gaza fired more than 4,500 rockets at civilians in Israel and the West Bank during just 11 days, killing both Israelis and Palestinians,” the Congressional letter said. “Although lives were tragically lost, the Iron Dome was extremely effective overall. It intercepted approximately 90 percent of the incoming rockets, saving countless civilians in Israel, as well as those in Gaza.”

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“Even though the attacks from Gaza have halted, we remain clear eyed about the threats Israel continues to face, not only from Gaza, but also along its northern border,” it continued. “We must ensure that the Iron Dome remains able to protect Israel without running the risk that its stockpile of interceptors becomes depleted. Israel must always have the resources it needs to defend itself from incoming rockets when it is targeted again.”

Signatories to the letter included House members Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), Ritchie Torres (D-NY) Elaine Luria (D-VA), Kathy Manning (D-NC), Sharice Davids (D-KS), Elissa Slotkin (D-MI), Andy Kim (D-NJ), Tom Reed (R-NY), Fred Upton (R-MI), Nicole Malliotakis (R-NY), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA), Peter Meijer (R-MI) and Dusty Johnson (R-SD).

The group asked Austin to work with Congress to fulfill any Israeli request for additional aid, and for the Department’s assessment of the need for Iron Dome replenishment.

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