US military to buy Iron Dome missile defense systems from Israel

(JTA) — The United States will buy at least two batteries of the Iron Dome short-range missile defense systems from Israel.

Israel’s Defense Ministry announced Wednesday that the U.S. military will purchase the system from its developer, Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd., under an agreement between the ministry and the U.S. Department of Defense “for immediate needs of the U.S. Army.”

The Defense Ministry said it would be deployed to protect U.S. forces overseas.

“This is a great achievement for Israel and another manifestation of the deepening of our steadfast alliance with the US, and an expression of Israel’s rising status in the world,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who also serves as defense minister, said in a statement.

Since it was deployed in 2011, Iron Dome has intercepted over 2,000 rockets fired at Israel from Gaza.

Inside Defense first reported the Army’s decision to acquire at least two Iron Dome batteries in January.

In April, 40 Republicans and Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives in a letter to the top Republican and Democrat on the defense subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee urged inclusion of $500 million in the 2019 defense appropriations bill to purchase the system.