US Jewish Leaders ‘Dismayed’ by Sen. Rand Paul’s Continued Blocking of Iron Dome Bill
Leaders of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations called on US Senator Rand Paul to end his opposition to a measure funding Israel’s missile defense system, as the Kentucky Republican remained the main obstacle to the bill’s swift passage.
“We are dismayed by a third delay in as many weeks of a vote in the US Senate by Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) to provide $1 billion to replenish Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system,” said Conference Chair Dianne Lob, CEO William Daroff and Vice Chair Malcolm Hoenlein on Friday.
“This critical legislation passed the US House by a nearly unanimous vote weeks ago, and has the strong support of senators from both sides of the aisle,” they continued. “With a 90% interception rate, the life-saving Iron Dome technology is a key line of defense for the people of Israel – Jews, Christians, and Muslims alike – and to jeopardize its integrity risks the safety and security of both Israelis and Palestinians.”
After a lopsided passage in the House over the objections of a handful of progressive Democrats and one Republican, the standalone bill awaits passage in the Senate, where Paul has stood in the way of a fast-track process that needs unanimous backing. The Kentucky Senator has said he favors paying for the air defense system with aid already appropriated for Afghanistan.
The $1 billion bill would pass easily in a floor vote, but the timing of that route is uncertain given the high-stakes negotiations over the debt ceiling now occupying the Senate’s attention.
“We call for Senator Paul to drop his objections to allow what will undoubtedly be an overwhelming vote to approve, so that President Biden can sign the legislation and the Jewish State can rest assured that its qualitative military edge is not threatened,” the Conference leaders wrote.
On Thursday, Sen. Bernie Sanders confirmed to the Times of Israel that he would back the bill after he was assured by Democratic Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (NY) that Congress would send more humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip.