Sirens blaring loudly in the distance. Bright streaks of light in the sky. Deadly explosions seconds later. This is not a scene from a war movie. These are the sights and sounds in Israel today in 2019.
On the weekend of May 4th, Hamas and other terrorist groups fired more than 600 rockets into Israel from the Gaza strip. Their aim is to kill innocent civilians and sow chaos. But the Israelis have remained strong, and I am proud to stand behind our greatest ally in the Middle East.
I have made multiple trips to Israel and seen firsthand the threats they face every day. One of the most interesting places I visited was an Iron Dome facility in Southern Israel. Iron Dome is a missile defense system developed by the Israelis that has shot down thousands of rockets that might otherwise have landed in urban areas.
The system is so effective that is has an almost 90% success rate at stopping incoming rockets. That’s why the U.S. has provided significant security assistance to Israel to deploy more Iron Dome batteries. In the last two years, I have voted for $162 million in funding for this critical system that is protecting innocent lives every day in Israel.
I also remain committed to containing the aggressive ambitions of the Iranian regime. Make no mistake – the current regime in Tehran represents an existential threat to the State of Israel.
As a state sponsor of terror for decades, Iran has provided Hamas, Hezbollah and other terrorist groups targeting Israel with weapons, rockets and financial support that has been used to attack innocent civilians and destabilize the region.
I strongly support the Administration’s decision to withdraw from President Obama’s flawed nuclear deal with Iran and reimpose tough sanctions on the regime. Until the Iranian government stops backing terrorist groups, we cannot waver in our resolve to support Israel and our allies in the region against this malign regime.
The threats facing Israel’s security, however, go beyond violence in the region. Israel also faces a coordinated campaign to exclude the its people from the economic and cultural life of the rest of the world.
The Global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement (BDS) seeks to delegitimize the State of Israel and isolate it from the community of nations by targeting both Israeli and foreign companies and institutions, solely because of their association with Israel.
The United States is a critical partner in a violent and turbulent region and must stand with Israel against this global movement, which is why I have joined my colleagues in supporting legislation that condemns the BDS movement and gives state and local governments new tools to fight back against these groups.
In the dangerous world facing the United States abroad, it is more important than ever that we support our friends and allies. Amid rocket attacks from terrorist groups, the threat posed by Iran and rising antisemitism around the world, the United States should continue to stand side-by-side with our brothers and sisters in Israel.
As your Representative, I will continue to work with my colleagues to ensure we do just that.
A former undercover CIA officer, entrepreneur and cybersecurity expert, Will Hurd is the U.S. Representative for the 23rd Congressional District of Texas. In Washington, he serves on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, where he is the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Intelligence Modernization and Readiness, and the House Committee on Appropriations, where he serves on the Subcommittees on Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, and on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development.