Bennett celebrates ‘sweeping victory’ on Iron Dome vote as he sets off for UN

The House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly to approve a $1 billion in spending for Israel’s’ Iron Dome in a stand-alone vote. 

By Donna Rachel Edmunds, World Israel News

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett lauded as a ”sweeping victory” the approval of $1 billion spending on Israel’s Iron Dome by the United States House of Representatives, following attempts among Democrat ranks to quash it.

Speaking from the tarmac at Ben-Gurion Airport on his way to New York to speak at the United Nations, Bennett said “At the moment of truth, we saw the representatives of the American people overwhelmingly support Israel, 420 to 9, in the vote on rearming Iron Dome.”

The budget line was originally part of a larger bill, but was left out following protests from some Democrat representatives. However, the spending was approved in a stand-alone vote on Thursday, despite scenes of infighting among Democrats on the floor.

Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), one of the nine who voted against the bill, told the House in her speech before the vote: “I will not support an effort to enable war crimes, human rights abuses and war crimes. We cannot be talking only about Israelis’ need for safety under a time when Palestinians are living under a violent apartheid system.”

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Her Democrat colleague Ted Deutch (D-FL), who chairs the Foreign Affairs committee shot back in his speech: “I cannot – cannot allow one of my colleagues to stand on the floor of the House of Representatives and label the Jewish Democratic state of Israel an apartheid state. I reject it.”

In a stinging rebuke, he continued: “When there is no place on the map for one Jewish state – that’s anti-Semitism, and I reject that.”

Meanwhile, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who last week boasted that she had introduced an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that would block “specific U.S. weapons transactions to [the] Israeli gov over the bombing of Palestinian civilians, media centers,” cried as the result of the vote came in despite effectively abstaining by voting ‘Present.’

“There is a small anti-Israeli group that makes a lot of noise but these people failed,” Bennett said as he prepared to board his plane to New York.

The trip to New York to address the UN General Assembly will be Bennett’s second to America as Prime Minister.

“This is an important international stage and I am very pleased for the opportunity to bring the voice of Israel, of Israelis, to this important stage,” he said. “This will be an opportunity to tell our story, about Israel’s place in the world and about the special spirit of Israelis and our contribution to the world.”

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Bennett’s address to the Assembly will take place on Monday at 4pm Israeli time, just before the Shemini Atzeret holiday begins, and is expected to be directed primarily at Iran’s nuclear program.

“The speech will be different than the style of Netanyahu’s speeches,” Bennett’s office said in a statement on Thursday. “There will not be visual aids, poster boards, drawings, and the like.”

The remark appeared to be a direct jab at Netanyahu, who held up a cartoon illustration of a bomb while delivering a 2012 speech to the U.N. focused on the threat posed by Iran’s ongoing efforts to manufacture a nuclear warhead.

Bennett’s speech follows Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas address to the assembly in a video message Friday, during which he threatened Israel with consequences if it did not withdraw to 1967 lines within a year.

“The Israeli authorities have one year to withdraw from the Palestinian territory it occupied in 1967, including East Jerusalem,” Abbas said, adding that Palestinian recognition of the line at the Oslo Accords was only given to facilitate the peace process.

If Israel does not comply, Abbas said that Ramallah would rescind its recognition of the 1967 borders and take the matter to court.

“We will go to the International Court of Justice as the supreme international judicial body, on the issue of the legality of the occupation of the land of the Palestinian state,” Abbas said.

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In his remarks at Ben Gurion, Bennett said: “We do not define ourselves according to others, not according to Iran and not the Palestinians. I suggest that their leaders deal with their people, in improving their situation, and stop this obsession with the State of Israel.”

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Lauren Marcus contributed to this report.