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US aid to Israel must be Congress’s top priority

Having witnessed first-hand the impact of Oct. 7, and after Iran's onslaught, the need for American support is more dire than ever
People visit the site of the Supernova music festival massacre in Re'im, January 14, 2024. (Chaim Goldberg/Flash90)
People visit the site of the Supernova music festival massacre in Re'im, January 14, 2024. (Chaim Goldberg/Flash90)

Just a little over six months ago, the world witnessed as Israel was terrorized at the hands of Iran-backed Hamas. October 7, 2023, will go down as the deadliest day for the Jewish people since the Holocaust. The unprovoked attacks – egregious acts of war – cannot and will not be forgotten.

Again, this weekend, we saw yet another unprecedented attack on Israel, with Iran launching hundreds of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and missiles on the country. The latest escalation of aggression by Iran – the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism – is alarming and should spur Congress to pass legislation supporting our allies and holding Iran and its proxies accountable.

I recently returned from a congressional delegation to Israel alongside nearly 20 of my House Republican colleagues. In my conversations with Israelis across the political spectrum, it’s clear that the shock and tragedy of Hamas’s brutal and unprecedented October 7 attack remains at the forefront of their minds. And with the ongoing threats and attacks from Iran, the Israeli people know no sense of peace.

I saw firsthand the aftermath of the atrocities at Kibbutz Nir Oz, one of the communities massacred by Hamas on that dark day. My colleagues and I also visited the site of the Nova music festival, where hundreds of young Israelis – and individuals from across the world – were systematically raped, tortured, and slaughtered. It is impossible to put what they went through into words – what happened there was nothing less than the manifestation of pure evil.

Israeli soldiers walking next to the destruction caused by Hamas terrorists in Kibbutz Nir Oz on October 7, 2023, near the Israeli-Gaza border, in southern Israel, November 21, 2023. (Chaim Goldberg/Flash90)

We must also remember that for 134 innocent people – including eight Americans – and their family and friends, the nightmare is not over. These innocent hostages remain in the hands of brutal terrorists, suffering ongoing and unspeakable abuse. I met with the parents of Hersh Goldberg-Polin, an American citizen still being held hostage in Gaza. Their pain is unimaginable, but their strength to do everything possible to bring their son home is an inspiration. In Congress, I remain committed to doing everything in my power to reunite them with their son and free all of the remaining hostages.

Another encounter that stood out to me was an impromptu run-in with Rami Davidian, a 58-year-old Israeli farmer. Rami demonstrated remarkable heroism on October 7, risking his own life by driving in and out of the Israeli communities besieged by Hamas to save innocent people. Through sheer bravery and determination, Rami saved hundreds of people.

Rami’s story – and the strength of the Polin-Goldberg family – highlighted a key takeaway from the trip: Israel’s incredible determination. Rami’s story may have been uniquely heroic, but his determination and resilience are shared by Israelis from around the country and all different walks of life. It’s also one that is shared globally by the Jewish community, from Tel Aviv to Tucson. In a time where antisemitism is tragically on the rise, we have to show support for our Jewish friends and neighbors both at home and abroad.

Israelis are determined to ensure their families can live in peace and security in their homes and their homeland. They aren’t asking Americans to fight for them; they just want the tools needed to defend themselves. In one meeting with Israeli officials, they assured us it wasn’t a matter of IF Israel would win – it’s a matter of how quickly they could get the job done. With America’s support, they can achieve this outcome more swiftly while protecting innocent civilians.

Israel is an essential American partner – our only democratic ally in a dangerous region. A beacon of democracy in the Middle East, Israel is on the frontlines and America must stand with them. I walked through ground zero of the October 7 attacks, speaking to survivors and meeting with people who had loved ones massacred in their own beds. Hamas, Iran and its proxies wish that same fate on Americans. A safe and secure Israel benefits America – and frankly, the entire world.

As we head back to Washington this week, Congress’s top priority must be passing an aid package to Israel. With the recent attacks over the weekend, this has become more dire than before. Iran and its proxies are growing bolder and more aggressive by the day. Support from the United States has the ability to tip the scales in favor of Israel; we must ensure our ally has what it needs to meet this moment and defeat the anti-Israel, anti-American terrorists dedicated to our collective destruction.

On one of our trip’s stops, our group visited Yad Vashem, Israel’s memorial to victims of the Holocaust. We know the danger of silence in moments in history like this. For decades, Americans have promised our Jewish brothers and sisters, “Never Again” in remembrance of the Holocaust. And that promise has never been as crucial as it is right now. America must be there for our friend in its time of need.

About the Author
Congressman Juan Ciscomani (R-AZ) is a freshman representative of Arizona’s 6th Congressional District in the US House of Representatives, sitting on the House Appropriations Committee and the House Veterans Affairs Committee.
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