Last week, the House approved $1 billion to fund Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system. The vote was 420 to 9 and the aid will go toward replacing the missile interceptors that were used to defend Israel in May when terror organizations Hamas and Islamic Jihad launched over 4,000 rockets toward Israeli cities. About two-thirds of the rockets fell in open areas or malfunctioned (some exploded in Gaza), but out of the 1,500 missiles that were on track to blow up civilian populated areas, 90 percent were intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome.
The Iron Dome is a defensive system that saves Israeli and Palestinian lives (nearly 2 million Palestinian Arabs live in Israel, comprising 20 percent of the population). Among the Israelis who were killed in the May fighting were a Palestinian father and daughter who were driving in the city of Lod when a rocket blew up their car.
Last week, tensions were high when some U.S. representatives rose to challenge the aid package. Prior to the vote, Representative Rashida Tlaib, Democrat of Michigan, lashed out at Israel and asserted that, “the Israeli government is an apartheid regime.”
Ayanna Pressley, the U.S. representative from Boston, was also one of the nine who voted against funding the defense system. In May, when Hamas was firing 500 rockets a day toward Israeli cities like Ashkelon, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem – and Israel was responding by bombing Hamas strongholds in
Gaza – she stood in the Capitol and also called Israel an apartheid state. “The question at hand is should our taxpayer dollars create conditions for justice, healing and repair, or should those dollars create conditions for oppression and apartheid?” she said on May 13.
In the past, Pressley has voiced support for a two-state solution but she’s not talking much these days about that. The Journal made several attempts to speak with her after last week’s vote but she did not respond to phone calls or emails.
Pressley has placed the Palestinian cause at the top of her political platform. It would serve her well if she met with some of her Jewish constituents who could help provide more background on Israel and the Palestinian conflict. And, perhaps after COVID subsides, she could take a trip and tour Israel, the West Bank and Gaza. If she is to build bridges between Palestinians and Israelis, Rep. Pressley must further educate herself about the difference between democracy and apartheid.