The House of Representatives on Thursday approved a stand-alone bill to provide Israel with $1 billion to replenish the Iron Dome missile-defense system, following two days of contentious debate within the Democratic Party.
The vote passed with an overwhelming 420-9 majority, with two Democrats, Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Hank Johnson, effectively abstaining by voting “present.”
Eight Democrats — Reps. Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley, Cori Bush, Andre Carson, Marie Newman, Jesus Garcia, Raul Grijalva — and one Republican, Rep. Tom Massie, voted against.
The bill is now headed to the Senate, which will need to approve it as well.
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett thanked members of Congress from both parties for their “overwhelming support of Israel and commitment to its security.
“Whoever tries to challenge that support got their answer today,” he added. “The people of Israel thank the American people and their representatives for their strong friendship.”
On Tuesday, the Democratic leadership had to remove the $1b. provision from a continuing resolution amid pushback from progressives. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer announced that he would bring a suspension bill, which requires support from two-thirds of members, to approve the provision with support of members from both parties.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said, “Iron Dome is a purely defensive system designed to safeguard all civilians living in Israel.
“The system was co-developed by the United States and Israel, and has saved thousands of lives,” she said. “Passage of this bill reflects a great unity in Congress on a bipartisan and bicameral basis for Israel’s security. Assistance to Israel is vital because Israel’s security is imperative for America’s security. I urge a strong bipartisan vote for the security of the people of Israel and for this legislation.”
Tlaib called the Israeli government an “apartheid regime,” and announced she would oppose the bill. “I will not support an effort to enable and support war crimes, human rights abuses and violence. We cannot be talking only about Israelis’ need for safety at a time when Palestinians are living under a violent apartheid system,” she said.
Rep. Chuck Fleischmann (R-Tennessee) slammed Tlaib’s remarks.
“We heard right now from my colleague across the aisle a shocking statement. She opposes this because they have a vocal minority in the majority party that is anti-Israel. That is antisemitic, and as Americans, we can never stand for that.
“I reach out to the majority and I say, condemn what we just heard on the floor, condemn terrorism. This is a defensive weapon system. Stop playing your procedural games,” Fleischmann added.