‘A smart investment that’ll pay dividends’: Biden asks Congress to boost Israel, Ukraine support

Jacob Magid is The Times of Israel's US bureau chief

US President Joe Biden addresses the nation from the Oval Office on October 19, 2023. (Screen capture/YouTube)
US President Joe Biden addresses the nation from the Oval Office on October 19, 2023. (Screen capture/YouTube)

Addressing the nation, US President Joe Biden says he will be submitting an urgent request tomorrow for Congress to “fund America’s national security needs to support our critical partners, including Israel and Ukraine.”

“It is a smart investment that’s going to pay dividends for American security for generations,” he asserts.

“It will help us keep American troops out of harm’s way,” Biden explains, indicating that the defense aid to both countries will be instead of sending US troops to fight in either war.

“We do not seek to have American troops fighting in Russia or fighting against Russia,” he says separately, notably not ruling out the possibility of US troops getting involved in the Gaza war.

Two officials familiar with the matter told The Times of Israel yesterday that the Biden officials have indicated to Israel in recent days that if Hezbollah initiates a war against Israel, the US military will join the IDF in fighting the Iran-backed Lebanese terror group.

The aid will “help us build a world that is safer, more peaceful, more prosperous for our children and grandchildren,” Biden says in the address to the nation.

“American alliances are what keep us America safe. American values are what make us a partner nations want to work with. To put all that at risk if we walk away from Ukraine or if we turn our backs on Israel — it’s just not worth it,” Biden asserts.

“In Israel, we’re going to make sure that they have what they need to protect their people today and always,” Biden says.

“The security package I’m sending to Congress… is an unprecedented commitment to Israel’s security that will sharpen Israel’s qualitative military edge, which we’ve committed [upholding].”

“We’re going to make sure Iron Dome continues to guard the skies over Israel. We’re going to make sure other hostile actors in the region know that Israel is stronger than ever and prevent this conflict from spreading,” he says.

“At the same time, [Prime Minister] Netanyahu and I discussed again yesterday, the critical need for Israel to operate by the laws of war. That means protecting civilians in combat as best as they can,” Biden clarifies.

Tying the two conflicts together again, Biden maintains that “Iran is supporting Russia in Ukraine, and it’s supporting Hamas and other terrorist groups in the region.

“We will continue to hold them accountable,” he asserts.

“The United States and our partners across the region are working to build a better future for the Middle East — One where the Middle East is more stable and better connected to its neighbors through innovative projects like the India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor.”

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