The allocation is double what the Obama administration requested; ‘it works,’ says Senate chairman of the subcommittee.
Israel has every right to be proud of the Iron Dome missile defense system and the US Senate on Tuesday reinforced its feeling. The Senate Appropriations Defense subcommittee backed the Israeli Government request for $621.6 million in 2015 for Israeli missile defense programs in general, including $351 million allocated specifically for Iron Dome.
“It works,” Senator Dick Durbin, chairman of the subcommittee, said.
“For decades, Defense Department technologies have revolutionized the world. Many of these breakthroughs began as a novel solution to a military problem. We must continue to invest in medical breakthroughs and technological advancements that keep us at the forefront of innovation, improve the health and safety of our troops and contribute to our overall national security,” Durbin added.
The anti-missile defense system has been responsible for intercepting Hamas rockets fired toward Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, Israel’s two largest cities, along with other cities in southern Israel.
The Israeli army reports that as of July 15, since the beginning of Operation Protective Edge on July 7 more than a thousand rockets were fired into Israel from Gaza. Iron Dome intercepted more than 145 rockets aimed at populated areas.
“If we did not have it and the rockets were falling in Israel, killing people, then the Israeli army would have little choice but to enter Gaza on foot to get rid of the place where the rockets are coming from,” former Israeli defense minister Amir Peretz and architect of the Iron Dome program told The Washington Post on Tuesday.
In talks on Friday with executives from Rafael, Iron Dome prime contractor, and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), producer of the system’s multimission radar, Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon credited Iron Dome for its “impressive performance” and “strategic significance” in the ongoing campaign.
“First and foremost, it saves lives and grants us expanded opportunities for managing the campaign against Hamas,” Ya’alon said. “And it sends a message to countries and organizations amassing huge quantities of rockets and missiles” for terrorist purposes.