New York, June 9, 2022 – Today, members of the Abraham Accords caucus in both the House and the Senate introduced the Deterring Enemy Forces and Enabling National Defenses (DEFEND) Act, a legislation that helps to safeguard Israel and other Middle Eastern allies against threats stemming from Iran.

Providing authorization to the U.S. Secretary of Defense, the DEFEND Act will foster further cooperation with allies and partner states in the Middle East and develop integrated air and missile architecture to defend against Iranian threats. Furthermore, this legislation will require the Department of Defense to periodically report to Congress, highlighting the feasibility of establishing a fund for an integrated defense system to counter Iranian aggression, including cruise and ballistic missiles, manned and unmanned aerial systems, and rocket attacks, along with covering support defense efforts in the region and advancing global security.

In conjunction with the introduction of the DEFEND Act, President of the American Jewish Congress, Jack Rosen, issued the following statement:

The DEFEND Act presents a needed vision for a new security architecture in the Middle East – one that proactively builds on the remarkable diplomatic developments that we have seen between Israel and Arab partners. By promoting the integration of defense capabilities among our Middle Eastern allies and partners, the United States can further encourage these stunning cooperative efforts. This bill contributes to our national security priorities, safeguards Israel, and defends our crucial allies in the region. More importantly, it combats the rising military threat posed by Iran, at its source.”

As tensions with Tehran continue to grow by the day, this legislation and the protective edge it fosters are fundamentally vital. To make matters even more dangerous, the Associated Press has reported that “Iran has started removing 27 surveillance cameras from nuclear sites across the country.” This move is yet another indication of the Iranian regime’s intention to do harm to the United States, Israel, and our allies. Further, it validates the call for cooperation amongst our partners in the region and the need to advance our proactive reporting of Iranian threats. Lastly, with Israel facing constant bombardment from Iran and its terrorist proxies, the DEFEND act will develop new methods to bolster Israeli security, further diplomatic dialogue with partner nations in the Middle East, and save innocent lives in its process.

The American Jewish Congress is grateful for the leadership of Sens. Ernst, Rosen, Booker, Lankford, and Reps. McMorris Rodgers, Schneider, Bacon, Panetta, Trone, and Wagner, who are working to make this legislation a reality. Moreover, we urge all of Congress to give the DEFEND Act the swift, fair, and necessary passage it deserves.

© 2020 American Jewish Congress.