Marco Rubio Urges Senate to Fund Israel’s Iron Dome Missile Defense System

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., was joined by U.S. Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-NY, Mike Rounds, R-SD, Joe Manchin, D-WV, Susan Collins, R-Maine, Jacky Rosen, D-Nev., and John Thune, R-SD, in sending a letter to U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee  Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt. and Vice Chairman Richard Shelby, R-Ala., urging them to support Israel’s emergency request of “$1 billion in security assistance in order to replenish and prepare its Iron Dome missile defense system for a future conflict.”

Earlier this year, Rubio joined U.S. Sens. Bill Hagerty, R-Tenn., Tom Cotton, R-Ark., and Ted Cruz, R-Texas, in introducing the Emergency Resupply for Iron Dome Act, a bill to authorize the Executive Branch to redirect U.S. foreign assistance intended for Hamas-controlled Gaza to help Israel replenish its highly-effective missile defense interceptors.

The letter is below.

Dear Chairman Leahy and Vice Chairman Shelby:

We write with regard to an issue of utmost importance to that of our ally, Israel, and our own security interests. The U.S.-Israel relationship is rooted in shared values of democracy and peace. They are also the greatest force for stability in a region of chaos. An important part of this stability is the ability of Israel to defend itself from ongoing threats to its people and its very existence.

It is our understanding that Israel has recently made an emergency request of an additional $1 billion in security assistance in order to replenish and prepare its Iron Dome missile defense system for a future conflict. As you know, the Memorandum of Understanding negotiated between Israel and the United States in 2016 provides for $500 million a year in security assistance for Israel’s missile defense, but allows for Israel to make emergency requests in times of conflict. As such, we respectfully urge you to provide funding to fulfill this request.

Israel’s Iron Dome has saved countless lives as terrorists intentionally launch rockets at Israel to harm civilians. In the latest conflict this past May, Hamas and other groups, launched more than 4,400 rockets. Iron Dome successfully prevented approximately 90 percent of these rockets from reaching their targets. The significance of this cannot be overstated. In past conflicts between Israel and Gaza, Palestinian rockets have killed and injured hundreds of civilians. With Iron Dome, Israel is able to protect its people. The safety of Israel, and its people, is a critical national security concern to the United States. We must ensure they have the resources to defend themselves from the same terrorists who have killed Americans.

Failure of Iron Dome to properly operate could harm our own interests in the region. In May, President Biden stated that the U.S. fully supports Israel’s right to defend itself and promised his “full support to replenish Israel’s Iron Dome.” Earlier this month, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin submitted a formal supplemental request of $1 billion for this funding. As such, we respectfully request the committee provide the funding for Iron Dome and look forward to working with you to ensure that the U.S. continues to advance peace and stability in the Middle East.

Thank you for your consideration of this timely request.

 

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