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Israeli Minister for Strategic Affairs Ron Dermer speaks

Dermer says Israel needs aid package “yesterday”

Israeli Minister for Strategic Affairs Ron Dermer is a well-known figure in Washington. He served as Israeli Ambassador to the United States from 2013 through 2021, weathering the split over the Iran nuclear deal and rising to new heights of influence during the Trump era.

Dermer is now back in Jerusalem, serving as a member of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s war cabinet. His ministerial portfolio includes managing the relationship with the Biden administration and Congress.

We spoke to Dermer for roughly 30 minutes Monday about Congress’s inability – or unwillingness – to send Israel aid nearly five months into a brutal war with Hamas in Gaza. We touched on everything from Speaker Mike Johnson to why Dermer thinks Israel needs the aid to rising skepticism about Israel on Capitol Hill due to humanitarian concerns over massive Palestinian casualties in Gaza.

We’ll post the entire conversation as a special edition podcast at 9 a.m. Get The Daily Punch on Spotify, Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen to your podcasts.

Here are a few bites from our very long conversation with Dermer.

How critical is the need for U.S. aid to Israel:

Dermer said the Israeli government hoped to see an aid package passed by Congress last year.

Aid to Israel has completely stalled. Johnson first put a $14 billion package on the floor that coupled Israel aid with IRS spending cuts. This went nowhere in the Senate.

Then Johnson reversed course and put a clean $10 billion Israel aid bill on the floor knowing it would fail – and it did. The speaker hasn’t attempted to put the legislation on the floor again under a rule, for fear the Rules Committee would shoot it down.

The seemingly smoothest path now for Israel aid is if five House Republicans sign a discharge petition and push a massive Ukraine-Israel-Taiwan bill to the floor.

– Jake Sherman

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