Smith's Remarks in Support of the United States-Israel Security Assistance Authorization Act
Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) made the following remarks on Wednesday in support of H.R. 5141, the United States-Israel Security Assistance Authorization Act
This bill responds to a crisis of converging threats that imperil the security of our closest ally, Israel.
Iranian forces and their terrorist proxies now surround Israel from nearly every direction. With Iranian support, Hizballah continues to amass a dangerous arsenal of thousands of advanced rockets to the north that are trained on Israel’s main population centers.
Hamas, also with Iranian backing, threatens Israel from the south and west with terror tunnels, rocket barrages, and now with a cynical campaign that manipulates civilian protests with the use of so-called human shields to threaten Israel’s sovereign border. To the east, in Syria, Iran continues to carve out strategic outposts where it can station advanced weapons systems and fighters to challenge Israeli defenses.
Faced with such a constellation of fanatical enemies, Israel cannot spare a moment’s vigilance—and neither can we for the sake of our close friend.
By authorizing enhanced military cooperation between our countries and further enshrining Israel’s qualitative military edge, H.R. 5141 guarantees that Israel will also remain far and away our most capable ally. The bill authorizes foreign military financing at an annual level no less than the $3.3 billion agreed to in the bilateral MOU negotiated under the Obama Administration. Crucially, the bill specifies that the assistance should be “not less than $3.3 billion”—a clear statement that this MOU constitutes a floor rather than a ceiling. This Congress can not accept predetermined limits on its support to such a crucial ally. A floor, yes—a ceiling, no.
The bill’s other provisions facilitate the transfer of advanced precision guided missiles for Israel’s use and lays the groundwork for bilateral cooperation that will assist Israel in confronting an evolving landscape of threats, including from unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), cyber-attacks, and non-state actors. The many facets of cooperation supported by this bill—from international development, to space exploration, to cybersecurity—are not just for Israel’s benefit: they directly contribute to our national security.