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Nominee for US Israel envoy tells confirmation panel he backs Iron Dome funding

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US President Biden’s nominee for ambassador to Israel, Tom Nides, told a Senate Foreign Relations Committee confirmation hearing Wednesday that he backs providing $1 billion for an Israeli missile defense system that has become a hot topic in Washington after it was dropped from a vital funding bill a day earlier.

Nides also said that if confirmed, his top priorities will include strengthening Israel’s security, expanding the US-Israel economic relationship, cooperating with Israel on foreign investment to counter China and strengthening the Abraham Accords.

He said he would look forward to living in Jerusalem which, in line with US policy, he sees as the capital of Israel.

The funding for Israel’s Iron Dome system was raised repeatedly during the hearing, a day after Democratic House leadership agreed to remove — following pressure from a group of progressive lawmakers — $1 billion in funding for the missile defense system from a bill to keep the United States government funded. The funds are expected to be approved separately at a later date.

Asked whether he supports Iron Dome replenishment, Nides responded curtly, “Yes sir.”

He also noted to the committee that the Iron Dome, which has been used to intercept thousands of rockets fired at Israel by Palestinian terror groups in the Gaza Strip, is a strictly “defensive system.”

“Upholding Israel’s security serves America’s national security interest and ensures that we will always have a strong reliable and secure partner,” Nides said.

Nides’s unreserved backing of the Iron Dome funding could put him at odds with committee member Chris Murphy, a Democrat.

Murphy tweeted Tuesday that though he also supports funding the system and Israel’s need to be able to defend itself, “this funding cannot be at the expense of economic/humanitarian aid to the Palestinians. Iron Dome funding and Palestinian aid should move together.”

Nides also expressed concerns about Iran’s nuclear program. Confronting the potential of Iran to obtain nuclear weapons is a prime concern, he........

© The Times of Israel

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