Democratic leaders on Tuesday pulled $1 billion in funding for Israel’s “Iron Dome” missile defense system from a government funding bill, revealing deep divisions within the party over the issue and sparking outrage from supporters of the system.
Leaders within the party pledged to fund the system in a subsequent bill. The Iron Dome has been supported by both Democratic and Republican presidents and has been critical in saving Israeli lives from Hamas rockets.
Earlier this year, the Iron Dome intercepted the majority of 4,500 rockets during an 11-day conflict. The computerized system, according to the Jerusalem Post, can quickly calculate where a rocket would land. If it is projected to land in an open, unpopulated area, then the system doesn’t intercept it.
Israel had requested $1 billion in funding to replenish its missile stocks, The Post reported. But House leaders pulled the Iron Dome funding from the bill when progressives said they would not back the bill if the funding was included. The progressive group included Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), according to the New York Post.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said he plans on bringing a stand-alone bill to the floor this week funding the Iron Dome. Hoyer supports the system and its funding.
“I intend to bring it to the floor, and it will be done,” Hoyer said.
The Jerusalem Post’s Anna Ahronheim urged Democrats to back the Iron Dome.
“It might be just politics for Washington. But in Israel, and even in the Gaza Strip, the Iron Dome is a lifesaver,” Ahronheim wrote. “Those who think otherwise are invited to come to southern Israeli cities of Sderot or Ashkelon when Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad fire their rockets barrages.”
Former Vice President Mike Pence criticized Democrats for pulling the funding.
“This is a disgrace!” Pence wrote on social media. “House Democrats voted to cut $1B in funding for Israel’s Iron Dome, the missile defense that saved thousands of lives as Hamas rained rockets on innocent Israelis this year. Restore Iron Dome Funding Now! America stands with Israel.”
This is a disgrace! House Democrats voted to cut $1B in funding for Israel’s Iron Dome, the missile defense that saved thousands of lives as Hamas rained rockets on innocent Israelis this year. Restore Iron Dome Funding Now! America stands with Israel 🇺🇸🇮🇱https://t.co/skhRZHJhMW
— Mike Pence (@Mike_Pence) September 21, 2021
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Amir Levy/Stringer
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.