Bipartisan House lawmakers are urging support for more federal funds to replenish Israel's Iron Dome missile defense system, Fox News reports.
At least 55 House members, both Democrats and Republicans, wrote to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on Wednesday urging the Pentagon to quickly work with Congress on fulfilling any request to restock Israel's supply of interceptors for the Iron Dome system.
During last month's 11-day violent conflict with Hamas, the missile defense system was critical in intercepting about 90 % of the 4,500 rockets that were fired towards Israel from Gaza, the lawmakers said.
"Even though the attacks from Gaza have halted, we remain clear-eyed about the threats Israel continues to face, not only from Gaza, but also along its northern border," the lawmakers wrote in a letter to Austin, shared with Fox News.
"We must ensure that the Iron Dome remains able to protect Israel without running the risk that its stockpile of interceptors becomes depleted. Israel must always have the resources it needs to defend itself from incoming rockets when it is targeted again," they added.
After the recent round of fighting, US President Joe Biden said he ensured Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of his “full support to replenish Israel’s Iron Dome system.”
US Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said Tuesday that Israel would ask the US for $1 billion in aid to replenish the Iron Dome missile defense system.
“There will be a billion-dollar request coming to the Pentagon this week from the defense minister to replenish the Iron Dome and a few other things to upgrade the system,” Graham said at a news conference in Jerusalem.
“The Iron Dome performed incredibly well, saving thousands of Israeli lives and tens of thousands of Palestinian lives, so I would imagine that the administration will say yes to this request and it will sail through Congress,” he added.
Defense Minister Benny Gantz is slated to arrive in Washington on Thursday to meet with Austin to discuss the request.
In their letter the lawmakers, led by Democratic Rep. Josh Gottheimer of New Jersey, said they support such supplemental appropriations requests to ensure Israel's ability to defend itself from any attack.
"We write to express our strong support for the Biden Administration’s ironclad commitment to Israel’s safety and security, including replenishing Israel’s stock of interceptors for the Iron Dome missile defense system and other important matters," the lawmakers wrote to Austin. "We ask that you continue urgently engaging with Israel on this request, and that you please report to Congress regarding Israel’s needs as soon as possible."