WASHINGTON (JTA) — Key U.S. congressional leaders introduced legislation that would provide further assistance to the Israeli Iron Dome anti-missile defense system.
The Iron Dome Support Act introduced Wednesday by U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee ranking member Howard Berman (D-Calif.) would allow the president to authorize further assistance for the “procurement, maintenance and sustainment” of the Iron Dome system upon request by the Israeli government.
The measure was co-sponsored by the committee’s chairwoman, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.). In addition, Reps. Gary Ackerman (D-N.Y.), ranking member of the Middle East and South Asia Subcommittee, and Steve Chabot (R-Ohio), the subcommittee’s chairman, were among those who signed on as original co-sponsors.
The Iron Dome system intercepted a high percentage of Kassam rocket and Grad missile attacks fired recently by Palestinian terrorist groups from Gaza, the Israel Defense Forces said.
In a statement outlining the introduction of the legislation, Berman noted that “when Palestinian terrorists launched their latest round of missile attacks on innocent Israelis, the Iron Dome anti-missile system saved innocent lives and prevented an escalation of hostilities and a full-blown crisis."
“Israel must have the ability to defend itself from rocket and missile attacks, and the United States will continue to stand by our strong ally if called upon in times of need,” he said.
The system was built with the assistance of a $205 million grant from the Obama administration.