Israel PM touts US friendship after House backs bill to provide $1 bln for Iron Dome

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Israel’s Prime Minister Naftali Bennett hailed his country’s “friendship” with the US on Thursday, after the House of Representatives voted to provide $1 billion to Tel Aviv for its Iron Dome missile defense system.

“Thanks to members of the House of Representatives, Democratic and Republican alike, for the overwhelming support for Israel and the commitment to its security. Whoever tries to challenge this security received a resounding response today,” Bennett said on Twitter.

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Foreign Minister Yair Lapid also thanked the US House members who backed the bill: “I am grateful for the overwhelming bipartisan support for Israel and the solid commitment to our security demonstrated today by the vote on the replenishment of the Iron Dome missile defense system.”

“This support reaffirms the special relations between our two countries, rooted in shared values and strategic interests,” he added.

The US House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly in support of the Iron Dome bill, backing it by 420 votes to nine, only two days after the funding was removed from a broader spending bill.

Democratic lawmakers had removed the $1 billion in military funding to Israel from legislation on Tuesday after liberals in the House of Representatives raised concerns and objections.

Liberal Democrats had objected to US-Israel policy this year, citing the many Palestinian casualties after Israel struck back following Hamas rocket attacks in May.

The Iron Dome is Israel’s main aerial defense system which intercepts and destroys short-range rockets and artillery shells.

The US has already provided more than $1.6 billion for Israel to develop and build the Iron Dome system, according to a US Congressional Research Service report last year. The funding reflects perennially strong support for aid to Israel among both Democrats and Republicans.

With Reuters

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