Fissures in the Democrats came to the fore over military aid to Israel. A proposal for a $1B fund for the Iron Dome air defense system was cut off a stopgap government funding bill after it created an internal rupture for Democrats. They must unite to overcome Conservative opposition to the broader bill, according to sources.
Top House Democrats on Appropriations introduced the bill yesterday. There has been a long-running internal split within the Democrats over support to Israel, a steadfast ally in the Middle East.
Initially, the funding was promised in an appropriations package at the end of the year. it would have required long bipartisan negotiations. Moreover, there wasn’t any guarantee that there would be a positive solution. But Steny Hoyer, House Majority Leader pledged to a vote this week after more moderates pressed for restoration of the Iron Dome fund.
Raytheon of US Part of Iron Dome Joint Venture
The Iron Dome defense system enjoys strong support in Capitol Hill. It is built under a joint venture between Rafael Advanced Defense Systems of Israel, and Raytheon Technologies of the USA.
Both President Biden and Lloyd Austin, the Defense Secretary, have backed the request by Israel to fortify the system after the Iron Dome shield successfully defended against multiple rocket attacks from Gaza amid escalating tension with Hamas.
But liberals within the Democratic Party have insisted that future aid to Israel should be based on certain conditions. But this has angered moderates within the Party, who do not wish to be perceived as being anti-Israel.
The Republicans were quick to pounce on the opportunity. Mitch McConnell, Minority Leader in the Senate, and Senator Richard Shelby introduced a continuing resolution for restoration of the funding for the Iron Dome.
Republican Leader in the House, Kevin McCarthy reiterated the Party’s steadfast support for Israel and alleged that the Democrats had succumbed to the anti-Semitic influence in the Party.