U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the Middle East and North Africa Subcommittee, made the following statement on the passing of H.R. 938 -- the U.S.-Israel Strategic Partnership Act -- introduced by Rep. Ros-Lehtinen and Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL). The measure was passed overwhelmingly by the House of Representatives with a vote of 410 -- 1.Statement by Ros-Lehtinen:
"As the democratic, Jewish State of Israel faces more existential threats than ever before, it's important that the United States shows its support for our close friend and ally. With the continued chaos and uncertainty throughout the Middle East, the movement by some to try to delegitimize and stigmatize Israel, and the alarming rise of anti-Semitism throughout the world, the people of Israel need to know that they can still count on the United States' friendship and support in their time of need.
"Just this morning Israel intercepted a Gaza-bound Iranian arms shipment. Incidents like this only further serve to highlight the need for Israel to retain the right to defend itself, and for the United States to ensure it has the capability to do so. That is why passing this bill is so important; because it ensures that Israel maintains its qualitative military edge over those that would seek to harm it.
"This bill also strengthens the U.S.-Israel relationship over a broad array of sectors by increasing cooperation in the fields of defense, intelligence, security, energy, science and trade, and it also signals to the world that the U.S. takes very seriously our relationship with Israel, by designating it as a Strategic Partner.
"Israel is a true friend and ally, not just because of the history our two nations share, but because of our shared ideals and values. The bond between our two countries is unshakable and only getting stronger thanks to the passage of the U.S.-Israel Strategic Partnership Act, and I will continue to work in Congress toward strengthening that bond even further."