Photo Credit: Edi Israel / Flash 90
Rescue personnel and IDF Home Front command at the scene where a rocket fired from Gaza by Iranian-backed terrorists hit a house in the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon. May 20, 2021.

Republican Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky has once again blocked an attempt by the US Senate to speed up $1 billion in emergency funding to replenish Tamir interceptor missiles for Israel’s Iron Dome aerial defense system.

Paul wants the funding to come from a $6 billion funding package earmarked for Afghanistan.

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“The billion dollars under consideration today is on top of the more than $1.6 billion the US has already given for Iron Dome,” the senator complained. “And that’s not all.

“The US provides Israel with just under $4 billion in aid annually. . .In addition to Iron Dome, the US has helped Israel fund other missile defense systems as well,” he said.

The funding was requested by Israel to replace Tamir interceptor missiles used by the Iron Dome system to protect Israeli civilians this past May during a mini-war waged against the Jewish State by Gaza’s Iranian-backed Hamas terrorist organization.

In May, Iron Dome Stopped Thousands of Rockets
More than 4,360 rockets and mortar shells were fired at central and southern Israel by Gaza terrorists during the 12-day conflict, dubbed “Operation Guardian of the Walls” by the IDF.

Of those rockets launched by the terrorists, about 3,400 made it over the border and into Israeli territory; 680 of the rockets fired by Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorists misfired and landed in their own territory, maiming and killing their own people, and 280 ended up in the Mediterranean.

The IDF managed to destroy some 850 of the more than 15,000 rockets possessed by the terror groups at the start of the conflict.

But one soldier and 12 Israeli civilians were killed, and hundreds more were wounded, some very seriously. Residents of the coastal city of Ashkelon alone were forced to race for cover in bomb shelters and safe spaces 168 times during the conflict, according to Maariv. Close to a thousand rockets were fired at the city.

The Iron Dome aerial defense system managed to intercept most of those rockets heading for populated areas in Israel, but at a price: the system now needs new Tamir interceptor missiles – at a cost of some $50K each – to prepare for the next conflict, which Hamas periodically promises could come “any day.”

Menendez: ‘No Conceivable Reason’ to Block Iron Dome Bill
Democratic Senator Bob Menendez of New Jersey introduced the motion for a “hotline” attempt to accelerate passage of the bill. “Hotlining” a bill means 100 senators – the full Senate – would unanimously agree to the bill being taken directly to a vote on the floor.

“There is no conceivable reason why anyone in this chamber on either side of the aisle should stand in the way of US support for this lifesaving defense to be fully ready for the next attack,” Menendez said in his remarks Monday on the floor.

“I strongly urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to join the House of Representatives in passing this funding on a broadly bipartisan effort,” he said.

AIPAC, CUFI Slam Rand Paul’s Political Sabotage
Both AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee) and Christians United for Israel slammed Paul for blocking the measure.

“Last night, Rand Paul joined Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib and Thomas Massie in not supporting emergency funding for Iron Dome,” AIPAC tweeted in a statement condemning the senator’s move.

“Iron Dome is a matter of life and death for Israelis and Palestinians,” CUFI founder Pastor John Hagee pointed out in a separate statement. “Senator Paul, true to form, is treating the replenishment of this vital system as a political game,” he added.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.
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