The U.S. House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly Thursday, with Israel providing $ 1 billion to support its Iron Dome missile defense system, a majority of progressive Democrats opposed after two days of debate.
The move was passed by 9 to 420 votes (eight Democrats and one Republican). With this referendum, the move was sent to the Senate, where the leaders have not yet decided when to vote.
Grants were first included in legislation to address the upcoming government strike and possible debt crisis in October. But objections from some Democrats led to the removal of the item from the spending bill.
“The passage of this bill reflects the great unity in Congress regarding the security of Israel,” House Democrat leader Nancy Pelosi told parliament.
“It is important to help Israel because Israel’s security is essential to the security of the United States,” he added.
A handful of progressive Democrats, who have accused Israel of human rights abuses against Palestinians, have opposed the inclusion of a clause in the spending bill.
The council passed the broad spending bill on Tuesday. But Iron Dome’s removal of the budget angered the Federal Democrats and prompted them to brand the Republicans as anti-Israel, despite a long tradition in the US Congress of strong bipartisan support for the Jewish state.
House Democratic leaders said they would immediately introduce a separate bill to provide Iron Dome funding.
Israeli Prime Minister Naphtali Bennett thanked both sides for their support. “Those who tried to challenge this support got an amazing response today,” he said in a statement.
During a telephone call, Israeli Defense Minister Benny Conte thanked his US envoy, Lloyd Austin, for his continued support of the US administration and the Pentagon.
Liberal Democrats have criticized US-Israel policy for focusing more on human rights issues such as the death toll of Palestinian civilians after Israel responded to the Hamas rocket attacks in May.
“We also need to talk about the need to protect the Palestinians from Israeli aggression,” said Rashida Dalai, a Democrat who is opposed to funding.
The $ 1 billion Iron Dome fund bill aims to replace the interceptor missiles used to block Israeli rockets from Gaza during the recent fighting.
Since its inception a decade ago, the Iron Dome system has been supported by the United States for a total of $ 1.6 billion, according to the Congressional Research Service.
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