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Murphy Aims to Strengthen U.S. Support for Israel’s Missile Defense Systems

Introduces Bipartisan Legislation to Deter Attacks on Israel, Better Respond When Attacks Occur

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Washington, February 28, 2018 | comments

U.S. Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy of Winter Park, Fla., this week introduced bipartisan legislation to strengthen the security of one of America’s closest allies, Israel, in the wake of recent provocations by the terrorist group Hezbollah, the Assad regime in Syria, and Iran. Murphy’s bill— H.R. 5126, the Deterring and Defeating Rocket and Missile Threats to Israel Act—authorizes Congress to provide additional missile defense funding to Israel, beyond the $500 million a year that is currently planned, under exceptional circumstances. Murphy said her bill, introduced with Congressman Brian Mast, R-Fla., will help deter attacks on Israel and help the nation respond if conflict occurs.

“When I traveled to Israel last summer, I experienced firsthand how truly special the U.S.-Israel relationship is and gained a clear understanding of the threats Israel faces on multiple fronts,” said Murphy. “The United States has an unbreakable bond with Israel, built on shared values and shared interests. We must stand strong against those who threaten the security of our two nations. I’m proud to introduce this bipartisan bill with Congressman Mast to not only deter conflict and preserve peace, but to also ensure Israel prevails if its adversaries choose war.”

“Following my time in the Army, I chose to volunteer alongside the Israeli Defense Forces because our countries share the common ideals of freedom, democracy and mutual respect for all people,” said Mast. “There is undoubtedly a mutual benefit to the security of our nations in collaborating on missile defense. This bipartisan legislation makes a strong statement that we will always work with Israel to promote peace and global security.”

Threats to Israel emanate from Hezbollah in Lebanon; the regime of Bashar al-Assad in Syria; Hamas in the Gaza Strip; and Iran.  Each has rockets or missiles that can target Israel. Hezbollah, in particular, is a growing threat, possessing an arsenal of 100,000 to 150,000 rockets.

The U.S. and Israel entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in 2016, which provides that the U.S. will provide Israel with $500 million dollars a year in missile defense funding, and that Israel can seek additional support when the two nations agree “exceptional circumstances” exist.

Murphy’s bill would codify in federal law this “exceptional circumstances” language.  This will underscore Congress’s enduring recognition that $500 million is a floor and not a ceiling.  It will also signal Congress’s intent to provide more funds when conditions on the ground justify it.

To watch a video of Murphy’s floor speech explaining her bill, click here. To read the text of her speech, click here.

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