Bennett presses Pelosi on Iron Dome funding, thanks her for support

At Jerusalem meeting, pair discusses challenges facing Jewish state, including Iran; Pelosi had told Herzog that Congress likely to fund missile defense system as soon as March

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett meets US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi in Jerusalem on February 17, 2022. (Amos Ben-Gershom/GPO)
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett meets US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi in Jerusalem on February 17, 2022. (Amos Ben-Gershom/GPO)

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett met on Thursday with visiting US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi in Jerusalem, thanking her for her longtime support of the State of Israel and urging her to push through congressional funding for Israel’s Iron Dome air defense system.

Pelosi, who is leading a group of Democratic lawmakers on a tour of Israel and the Palestinian Authority, met Bennett at the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem, together with the rest of the delegation.

“I would like to thank you personally for your continued support of Israel,” Bennett said. “Israel is a wonderful country with great people in a complex area. You supported Israel and your late father supported the Jews in our most difficult time in history, during the Holocaust, when support for Jews was not taken for granted. Thank you for everything.”

Pelosi’s father, Democratic congressman Thomas D’Alesandro Jr. of Maryland, supported the Irgun-affiliated Bergson Group, which lobbied the Roosevelt administration to allow Jewish refugees into the US during the Holocaust.

According to the Prime Minister’s Office, the pair also discussed “the central strategic challenges facing Israel, most prominently the Iranian nuclear program.”

Bennett also thanked Pelosi for supporting US funding for the Iron Dome “and stressed the importance of completing the process as soon as possible.”

Pelosi said during a meeting with President Isaac Herzog on Wednesday that Congress is expected to pass a bill for funding the Iron Dome system as soon as next month, according to the Kan public broadcaster.

The House overwhelmingly passed legislation to supplement Iron Dome funding by $1 billion to resupply the system following May’s war with Gaza, but Republican Senator Rand Paul has blocked the measure from advancing.

Israel’s Ambassador to the United States Michael Herzog and US Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides attended the meeting between Bennett and Pelosi.

Herzog hosted Pelosi at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem Thursday, thanking her for the role she has played in the relationship between Israel and US.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and President Isaac Herzog in Jerusalem on February 16, 2022. (Amos Ben-Gershom/GPO)

“Welcome, madam speaker, Nancy Pelosi. We are really overjoyed that you are here in Israel and we are grateful to you for your friendship, which represents so much in the unique relationship between Israel and the United States,” Herzog said, referring to the relationship as an “unbreakable bond.”

“Thank you so much, Mr. President. It’s wonderful to see you and Michal again,” Pelosi said of Herzog and his wife.

Herzog and Pelosi were joined by Ofra Fuchs, widow of the late Israeli poet Ehud Manor, whom Pelosi quoted in a speech on the floor of the Congress after the January 6 Capitol attack.

US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi walks with Knesset Speaker Mickey Levy as she arrives at the Knesset in Jerusalem, February 16, 2022 (Oliver Fitoussi/Flash90)

The US delegation headed by Pelosi was greeted in an official ceremony at the Knesset on Wednesday morning.

Joining her were Democratic Members of Congress Rep. Adam Schiff, Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee; Rep. Ted Deutch, Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Middle East, North Africa and Global Counterterrorism; Rep. Barbara Lee; Rep. Bill Keating; Rep. Eric Swalwell; Rep. Ro Khanna; and Rep. Andy Kim.

Pelosi told the Knesset that the American delegation reflected a “bipartisan commitment to an unbreakable bond between Israel and the United States built on mutual security, our economic interests and our common values and commitment to democracy.”

She also highlighted the US-Israel alliance against “terrorism posed by Iran, both in the region and also its nuclear development.”

Pelosi is considered a staunch supporter of Israel and maintains close relations with the US Jewish community.

The delegation is also set to travel to Ramallah to meet with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

Her arrival comes on the heels of a visit by Republican US Senator Lindsey Graham, who said he and Israeli officials discussed the idea of placing “guardrails” around Iranian nuclear ambitions and raised concerns about the emerging terms of a resumed deal with the Islamic Republic.

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