RELEASE: Bipartisan Group of 56 House Members Back Urgent Funding for Israel’s Iron Dome Missile Defense System

Israel to request additional $1 billion in emergency military aid in wake of Hamas rocket attacks

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, June 2, 2021, a bipartisan group of 56 Members of Congress, led by U.S. Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5), wrote to U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to express support for replenishing Israel’s stock of interceptors for the Iron Dome missile defense system, which intercepted approximately 90 percent of the incoming rockets during recent attacks, saving countless civilians in Israel, as well as those in Gaza. 

“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,” the Members wrote today. “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.”

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 full signatory list of 56 Members include Josh Gottheimer, Hakeem Jeffries, Ted Deutch, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Tom Suozzi, Darren Soto, Tom Malinowski, Vicente Gonzalez, Stephanie Murphy, Lucy McBath, Chris Pappas, Brad Schneider, Ritchie Torres, Elaine Luria, Kathy Manning, Grace Meng, Sharice Davids, Colin Allred, Haley Stevens, Jake Auchincloss, Conor Lamb, Chrissy Houlahan, Lou Correa, Elissa Slotkin, Susan Wild, Tom O’Halleran, Andy Kim, Abigail Spanberger, Susie Lee, Charlie Crist, Lizzie Fletcher, Abigail Spanberger, Scott Peters, Dean Phillips, Jared Golden, Ted Lieu, Kim Schrier, Lois Frankel, Albio Sires, Frank Pallone, Jr., Kathleen Rice, Tom Reed, Fred Upton, Brian Fitzpatrick, Anthony Gonzalez, Andrew Garbarino, Dave Joyce, Jaime Herrera Beutler, Dusty Johnson, Dan Meuser, Peter Meijer, Bill Johnson, Don Bacon, Nicole Malliotakis, Vern Buchanan, Brad Sherman, Jimmy Panetta.

The text of the letter can be found here and below.

June 2, 2021

The Honorable Lloyd J. Austin III 

Secretary

U.S. Department of Defense

1000 Defense Pentagon

Washington, D.C. 20528

 

Dear Secretary Austin:

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. We ask that you continue urgently engaging with Israel on this request, and that you please report to Congress regarding Israel’s needs as soon as possible.

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. 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. 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. 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.

In 2014, after the terrorist group Hamas fired a similar number of rockets at Israeli civilians, Congress enacted the Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Resolution (P.L. 113-145), which provided $225 million to replenish the interceptors Israel used to defend itself from those attacks. Under the current U.S.-Israel Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on military aid, the United States pledged to provide $3.8 billion a year in military assistance to Israel from fiscal year 2019 to 2028, including $500 million annually in missile defense. The MOU also specifies that following a major armed conflict involving Israel, both the U.S. and Israel may agree on additional U.S. support.

If Israel requests additional assistance, as contemplated in the MOU, please work closely with Congress to expeditiously fulfill this request. To help facilitate this process, we look forward to receiving a reply from you outlining your assessment of the need for Iron Dome replenishment and your engagement with our ally Israel on this matter. Please know that Congress stands with the Administration in its commitment to ensuring Israel’s security and capability to defend itself from any attack. 

Sincerely, 

Members of Congress

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