WASHINGTON (JTA) — The U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved President Obama’s request for an additional $205 million in assistance to Israel for a short-range missile defense system.
The vote approving funding for "Iron Dome" passed Thursday 410-4. The money is above the $3 billion in annual defense assistance Israel already receives from the United States.
The Democratic leadership framed the passage in terms suggesting unstinting support for Israel, part of a friendship offensive after several weeks of tensions between the Obama and Netanyahu governments over Israel’s settlements policies.
"With nearly every square inch of Israel at risk from rocket and missile attacks, we must ensure that our most important ally in the region has the tools to defend itself," said Rep. Howard Berman (D-Calif.), the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. "The president’s unprecedented request and the House’s quick approval speak for themselves — both President Obama and the Congress are actively and unshakably committed to Israel’s security."
The American Israel Public Affairs Committee also praised the bill’s passage. "Make no mistake, the United States stands shoulder-to-shoulder with the people of Israel in their quest for peace and the right to live lives free of terrorism," it said in a statement.
The bill seeking approval of Obama’s proposal was initiated by Rep. Glenn Nye (D-Va.), who has experience in the Middle East from his earlier career with the U.S. Agency for International Development.