Hagerty Presses Biden’s Ambassadorial Nominee to Israel as House Democrats Block Iron Dome Funding

September 22, 2021

WASHINGTON—United States Senator Bill Hagerty (R-TN), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and former U.S. Ambassador to Japan, today questioned Thomas Nides, President Joe Biden’s nominee to be U.S. Ambassador to Israel, about the Biden administration’s support for Iron Dome funding after House Democrats caved to anti-Israel progressive liberals and stripped funding for Iron Dome replenishment from the Continuing Resolution to fund the government after October 1.

“Yesterday, the House decided to remove funding to resupply and replenish the Iron Dome rocket defense system. I was very disappointed to see it. […] I also visited Israel with Senator [Ted] Cruz immediately after the 11-day war. I saw the benefit of having a technology like that, that saved both Israeli and Palestinian lives. And I want to ask you if you agree that that defensive capability that we provided through the Iron Dome is actually a benefit to our relationship with Israel and to their position there,” Senator Hagerty asked.

Nides responded to Hagerty, saying “absolutely.” Nides went on to note that President Biden has been clear that he supports the replenishment of Israel’s Iron Dome system and believes it’s in our national security interests.

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Israel used Iron Dome to defend cities and civilians when Hamas and other Palestinian terrorists in Gaza fired more than 4,000 rockets into Israel during the 11-day conflict in May 2021. Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system has demonstrated a missile interception success rate of over 90 percent since its deployment in 2011, and is a strictly defensive military asset that continues to protect the lives of Israeli and Palestinians from terrorist rocket attacks.

During Hamas’s 11-day terrorist offensive against Israel, Hagerty led a group of lawmakers, including Senator Cruz, Tom Cotton (R-AR), and Marco Rubio (R-FL), to introduce the Emergency Resupply for IRON DOME Act of 2021, a bill to redirect funds appropriated for Gaza and other Hamas-dominated areas to replenish Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense systems.

At the end of May 2021, Hagerty traveled to Israel with Cruz after the 11-day conflict to inspect Iron Dome batteries, visit Israeli cities damaged by Hamas’s rocket-based terrorists attacks, and meet with Israel’s then-Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Benny Gantz, and various Israeli Defense Force (IDF) commanders and troops.