Press Release

ICYMI: Gillibrand Op-Ed Last Week: Israel Is A Vital Ally, And I’m Proud To Support It | Jerusalem Post

Oct 10, 2023

In case you missed it, two days before Hamas launched an unprovoked terrorist attack against Israel, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand published an opinion piece in the Jerusalem Post stating her unequivocal support for the U.S.-Israel relationship. The piece highlighted her work to deliver hundreds of millions of dollars for U.S.-Israel cooperative missile defense programs like Iron Dome, her efforts to strengthen the Abraham Accords and our countries’ shared mission to confront the danger posed by terrorist groups like Hamas.

Read the opinion piece here or below:

Jerusalem Post: Kirsten Gillibrand: Israel is a vital ally, and I’m proud to support it

October 5, 2023

In an increasingly interconnected world, America needs allies ready and able to help us build a better future and deter dangerous threats.

In the Middle East, we have had no more consistent friend over the past 75 years than Israel. The flourishing alliance between the United States and Israel is a partnership in the truest sense of the word, and America’s commitment must remain bipartisan.

In Israel, we have an ally on the front lines of the fight against terrorism, nuclear proliferation and an emboldened Iran. We have a partner who is developing cutting-edge solutions to our most complex challenges in medicine, climate change and cybersecurity. We have a friend who stands with America, helps create and support American jobs, and promotes our interests and values.

Despite its small size, Israel consistently punches above its weight and is now an irreplaceable partner that greatly benefits the United States. Israel has achieved remarkable successes while overcoming increasing dangers, principally from Iran and the regime’s terror proxies Hezbollah, Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. With a land mass the size of New Jersey and a population of only 9.7 million, Israel has no room for error when it comes to its security.

Each year, my colleagues and I on the Senate Armed Services Committee carefully study our defense strategy and set policies to guide America forward.

In Israel, we see the model of what a strategic partnership should be. Israel wants to defend itself by itself — it doesn’t ask for American troops. It is in our national security interests to ensure that our ally has the resources and support it needs to defend itself against unprecedented threats.

Security assistance is in the US’ national interest

Annual security assistance and support for programs like Iron Dome are a vital cornerstone of this support, and I am proud to help build support for this funding year after year. Every year, I lead my Senate colleagues in supporting $500 million for US-Israel cooperative missile defense programs — lifesaving cooperation that has prevented thousands of rockets from striking Israeli homes and communities. In addition to saving countless lives, the majority of this funding is spent in the United States with domestic manufacturers, creating American jobs and benefiting the American economy.

Rather than working to undermine our alliance, now is the time for America to strengthen its ties and work together with Israel to advance broader Arab-Israeli peace.

As a founding member of the Senate Abraham Accords Caucus, I have seen firsthand the real-world impact of the budding partnerships between Israel and the UAE, Bahrain and Morocco. The flourishing economic and cultural exchanges are a powerful testament to what is possible when America and Israel work together. There now exists tremendous opportunity for Abraham Accords signatory countries to directly invest in the West Bank and Gaza, which would further promote security, economic development, and humanitarian efforts. I am eager and committed to working toward expanding and deepening the Abraham Accords.

Now is a historic moment for Israel-Arab relations

Once unimaginable military-to-military partnerships are now helping to strengthen US security in this region. My colleagues and I are leading an effort to build on this new era through the DEFEND Act and the MARITIME Act, which would increase American cooperation with our Israeli and Arab partners on joint missile defense and naval cooperation respectively.

I also led an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) this year to increase military cyber cooperation with our Israeli and Arab partners and a separate amendment to ensure Israel will continue to have sufficient precision-guided missiles to meet its security needs. I will fight to ensure these provisions pass in the final NDAA.

These new partnerships – a direct product of close US-Israel cooperation – not only help America, Israel and our Arab partners in the region. They also demonstrate throughout the Middle East and beyond the dividends of peace, prosperity and progress that can be achieved when America works to bring our partners together to counter shared threats and seize shared opportunities.

As Israeli President Isaac Herzog said in his historic speech to a joint session of Congress last month, “When the United States is strong, Israel is stronger. And when Israel is strong, the United States is more secure.”

The challenges of the 21st century will require America to redouble its cooperation with allies around the world to combat threats to US national and global interests. While I may not support ongoing domestic judicial reform efforts, my commitment to Israel’s security and the US-Israel relationship is unwavering.

These challenges transcend national boundaries and require innovative partners and solutions.

Israel is an important ally in this endeavor, and I will continue to ensure that America always stands with our ally.

The writer is a US senator representing the State of New York.