Israeli’s government will ask the Pentagon this week for $1 billion in aid to replenish its Iron Dome capabilities after the recent Gaza Strip military actions, Sen. Lindsey Graham said Tuesday while vowing to do his part in the Senate to make sure the funding is approved.
“If Hamas tries to destroy Israel, as Iran threatens the existence of the Jewish state, I will keep coming back here and saying more for Israel, the South Carolina Republican told Fox News’ “Fox and Friends” in an interview from Israel, where he met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Monday. “Every time someone tries to destroy Israel, our response is going to be more aid. It starts with replenishing the Iron Dome. A billion dollars investment would be a good investment for the American people.”
Graham said he’s been touring several Israeli sites and has seen several homes destroyed and a “lot of young people, 18-21, serving their country with a lot of enthusiasm.”
He also said that the Biden administration has been “helpful” during the latest Israel-Hamas conflict, and he doesn’t think the relationship between the United States and Israel will change, even considering Netanyahu’s political difficulties.
“If you like politics, come to Israel,” said Graham. “They have an election about every 60 days. The government may change in the next couple of days quite frankly. One thing that won’t change is the relationship between Israel and the United States. There has been no better friend to the United States than Israel.”
Netanyahu, he added, “has been one of the strongest leaders in the world for the last 15 years,” but Israel is “worried to death” about the Iran nuclear agreement and President Joe Biden’s moves to rejoin it.
“I met with the foreign minister, the prime minister, the defense minister, the opposition leader,” said Graham. “Regardless of the differences on the ground in Israel, they have two messages. Thank you, America, we need your support, and please don’t let the Iranians get a nuclear weapon because that can destroy the stability in the world. So, everybody in Israel is united behind the idea that the Iranian nuclear agreement is a bad idea.”
Graham added that he does not trust Iran with its plans for nuclear enrichment.
“Do away with the enrichment program and let the world provide the spent rods,” said Graham. “That way, they can’t make a bomb.”
Graham acknowledged that he doesn’t know who Israel’s prime minister will be next week, but still, he said he knows the United States “will have no better friend in the world than Israel … it’s not based on a personality. It’s based on shared value. The idea is the best in the business and we’re lucky to have them as a partner.”
However, he said not to count Netanyahu out, as the election process is still playing out.
“You may have this time next week a completely new government,” said Graham. “How long it lasts I don’t know. I do know this, the relationship between the United States and Israel is the best we have on the planet in terms of our national security … the people trying to destroy the state of Israel would kill you if they could. The Iron Dome behind me saved thousands of lives and quite frankly Palestinian lives. It’s one of the most marvelous technologies in the history of warfare.”