House approves $17 billion aid package for Israel

The $95 billion bill received broad bipartisan support and included funding for Ukraine, Taiwan, Israel, and humanitarian aid. 

By Vered Weiss, World Israel News

The U.S. House of Representatives passed a $95 billion funding bill that includes $17 billion in aid for Israel.

The $95 billion bill received broad bipartisan support and included funding for Ukraine, Taiwan, Israel, and humanitarian aid.

The bill is heading to the Democratic-majority Senate for approval before it heads to President Joe Biden’s desk for signing.

Of the $17 billion in aid for Israel, $5.2 will be used to replenish missile and rocket defense systems, $3.5 billion for purchasing new weapons, $1 billion for weapon production, $4.4 billion for other military supplies, and $2.4 billion for American operations during the Gaza war.

In addition, $9 billion will be devoted to humanitarian aid, and the White House is expected to add $2 billion for Gaza.

The bill also forbids funds to be used for UNRWA, an organization that was found to have deep ties with Hamas.

The vote on aid to Israel passed 366-58, with 37 Democrats and 21 Republicans in opposition.

Israel’s Foreign Minister Israel Katz said the US funding, “sends a strong message to our enemies,” and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant expressed his appreciation to the US for its “unwavering support” as Israel is threatened on seven different fronts.

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the aid package “demonstrates strong bipartisan support for Israel and defends Western civilization. Thank you friends, thank you America!”

The controversy among Republican members was mainly over funding for Ukraine with Georgia Republican congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene calling for the resignation of House Speaker Mike Johnson.

Democratic representatives, most in the Progressive wing, including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Joaquin Castro, Pramila Jayapal, signed a statement that said, “We believe strongly in Israel’s right to self-defense and have joined colleagues previously in affirming our shared commitment… All of us support strengthening the Iron Dome and other defense systems and we are committed to a sovereign, safe, and secure future for Israel.”

But amid the “extraordinary suffering [inflicted] on the people of Gaza… we believe there is a moral imperative to find another path.”

They added: “Most Americans do not want our government to write a blank check to further Prime Minister Netanyahu’s war in Gaza. The United States needs to help Israel find a path to win the peace.”