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Rep. Elise Stefanik rebukes Biden and praises Trump in address to Israeli parliament

U.S. plans to send more weapons to Israel
Why the U.S. plans to send Israel $1 billion in weapons 06:18

Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York, the highest-ranking Republican woman in the House, rebuked President Biden and praised former President Trump over U.S. military support for Israel in an address to its parliament on Sunday.  

"There is no excuse for an American president to block aid to Israel — aid that was duly passed by the Congress, or to ease sanctions on Iran, paying a $6 billion ransom to the world's leading state sponsor of terror, or to dither and hide while our friends fight for their lives," The New York congresswoman and House GOP conference chairwoman said.

Earlier this month, acknowledging the U.S. had paused a shipment of 2,000-pound bombs to Israel, Mr. Biden said that the U.S. would not provide Israel with weapons for an offensive in Rafah, and he acknowledged that Israel has used powerful American-made weapons in deadly attacks in Gaza. He suggested the U.S. would further curtail weapons shipments if Israel broadened its ground offensive to include civilian population centers in the southern Gaza city of Rafah.

However, Mr. Biden also said that the U.S. would continue to provide defensive military aid to Israel, and the White House has said that the U.S. would ensure that Israel would receive the full amount pledged in a recently signed supplemental funding package that includes about $14 billion for Israel's defense. And last week, the Biden administration informed Congress that it intends to transfer $1 billion in weapons to Israel.

White House spokesperson Andrew Bates said in a statement on Sunday that there "has been no better friend to Israel than President Biden."

"He was the first American president to visit Israel during war time — in the aftermath of the horrific October 7th terrorist attacks — and the first president to order the U.S. military to defend Israel from a foreign nation's attack. As he has demonstrated, President Biden's support for Israel's security is 'ironclad,'" Bates said. 

Recalling a letter from George Washington wrote to Jews in Newport, Rhode Island, Stefanik said Americans are "firmly behind Israel and the Jewish people."

Stefanik noted that "for years, I have been a leading proponent and partner to President Trump in his historic support for Israeli independence and security." She's a close ally of Trump and was among the first to endorse his 2024 presidential bid. Sources have told CBS News that Trump views her as a potential running mate.

In congressional hearings late last year, Stefanik pressed the presidents of Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Pennsylvania on antisemitism on their campuses. Soon afterward, two of the presidents resigned. 

"We must not let the extremism in 'elite' corners conceal the deep, abiding love for Israel among the American people. Most Americans feel a strong connection to your people," Stefanik told members of the Knesset.

Nikole Killion and Ed O'Keefe contributed to this report.

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