US House backs bill to provide $1 billion for Israel's Iron Dome anti-missile system

Streaks of light are seen as Israel's Iron Dome anti-missile system intercepts rockets May 20. The House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly on Thursday for legislation to provide $1 billion to Israel to replenish its "Iron Dome" missile-defense system.

Streaks of light are seen as Israel's Iron Dome anti-missile system intercepts rockets May 20. The House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly on Thursday for legislation to provide $1 billion to Israel to replenish its "Iron Dome" missile-defense system. (Amir Cohen, Reuters)



Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

WASHINGTON — The U.S. House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly on Thursday for legislation to provide $1 billion to Israel to replenish its "Iron Dome" missile-defense system, just two days after the funding was removed from a broader spending bill.

The measure passed by 420 to 9, with two members voting present.

Some of the most liberal House Democrats had objected to the provision and said they would vote against the broad spending bill if it was included. That threatened the bill's passage, with Democrats only narrowly controlling the House, because Republicans have opposed the plan to fund the federal government through Dec. 3 and raise the nation's borrowing limit.

The removal led Republicans to label Democrats as anti-Israel, despite a long tradition in the U.S. Congress of strong support from both parties for the Jewish state, to which Washington sends billions of dollars in aid every year.

Israel responded quickly. "Thanks to all members of the U.S. House of Representatives, Democratic and Republican alike, for their sweeping support for Israel and the commitment to its security. Those who try to challenge this support got a resounding response today," Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said in a statement.

Some liberal Democrats voiced concerns recently about U.S.-Israel policy, citing human rights concerns like Palestinian civilian casualties as Israel responded to Hamas rocket attacks in May. Israel said most of the 4,350 rockets fired from Gaza during the conflict were blown out of the sky by Iron Dome interceptors.

"We should also be talking about the Palestinian need for protection against Israeli attack," Democratic Rep. Rashida Tlaib, an opponent of the funding, said during the debate.

The bill, which was introduced in the House on Wednesday, provides $1 billion to replace missile interceptors used during the May conflict.

There was no immediate word on the timing of a vote in the Senate.

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Patricia Zengerle

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