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Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support of the United States-Israel Enhanced Security Cooperation Act of 2012, of which I am an original cosponsor; and I thank the distinguished majority leader and minority whip for sponsoring this important legislation.
The democratic Jewish State of Israel is our closest and most important ally. We share the same interests. We share the same values. And, lamentably, we share the same threats.
Today, 64 years after Israel's founding, these same shared threats to both of our nations are stark and they are growing--particularly the threat posed by the Iranian regime, which continues racing towards nuclear-weapons capabilities, and by Iran's partner in crime, the Assad regime in Syria. Israel continues to face the danger of Iranian-sponsored violent extremists, including Hamas and Hezbollah, which continue to expand their capabilities to threaten Israeli civilians and its infrastructure with tens of thousands of rockets, mortars, and missiles.
As a result of our shared commitments, the United States and Israel have worked together to advance technologies and policies to keep both of our countries safe and secure. Israel's proximity to the Iran-Syria-Hamas-Hezbollah nexus eliminates any room for error in Israel's defense capabilities.
We are here today to reaffirm our unequivocal support for Israel's right to
defend herself. And even beyond affirming Israel's right to defend herself, we aim to expand Israel's ability to protect her citizens against the dangers which they are subjected to day after day.
This bill expresses the sense of Congress that our country should support an increase to the totality of our bilateral security relations--from joint missile defense systems, intelligence cooperation, military exercises between the United States and Israel, to increasing Air Force training as well as providing increased excess defense articles and munitions to Israel.
This legislation also seeks to counter the Israel bashing that has become commonplace in international forums such as the United Nations. The United States must not allow Israel to be isolated and demonized in international organizations and must work together to withdraw U.S. participation in and funding from organizations that do so.
This legislation also extends the authority to provide loan guarantees to the Israeli Government that provide the Jewish state with a cushion of support in times of need at no cost to the American taxpayer.
As the United States and Israel work together to stop the challenges posed by the Iranian and Syrian regimes, and by violent extremists like Hezbollah and Hamas, the U.S.-Israel Enhanced Security Cooperation Act, the bill before us today, marks the triumph that we have achieved through our existing cooperation and advances our alliance to new levels.
I want to again thank my colleagues from both sides of the aisle for their strong support for this measure.
And with that, Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
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Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN. Madam Speaker, I yield myself the remaining time, and I thank my good friend from California (Mr. Berman) for his leadership role in bringing this bill to the floor today. I thank our majority leader, Mr. Cantor, as well as the minority whip, Mr. Hoyer.
This bill before us, Madam Speaker, the United States-Israel Enhanced Security Cooperation Act, is an important one. It sends a clear signal and a clear message throughout the world, to our friends and to our enemies, that the United States stands foursquare with our indispensable ally, the democratic Jewish State of Israel. This bill is a reaffirmation of our staunch commitment to Israel's security, its right to self-defense, and its right to exist. It is a testament to our friendship with Israel that has served us so well for the last 64 years, and will continue to serve us well for many generations to come. And it is a pledge that the United States and Israel, continuing to work together, will address the challenges to our common security so that we can ensure a safe, prosperous, and free future for both of our Nations.
With that, Madam Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.
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