Moment of Truth on Ukraine and Israel

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Both countries urgently need U.S. aid to defend themselves against brazen adversaries that seek their annihilation.


Iran launched an unprecedented attack against Israel this weekend, with a barrage of missiles and drones. Around the same time, some 1,500 miles north, Russia continued its bombardment of Ukraine, which has intensified dramatically in the last month.


Both Ukraine and Israel defended themselves against these attacks, holding the line and protecting their citizens. And both did it with critical help from the U.S.

Now is not the time to abandon our friends. The House must pass urgent national-security legislation for Ukraine and Israel, as well as desperately needed humanitarian aid for Palestinians in Gaza.

In this third year of Russia’s war, Ukraine continues to defy the odds. Against a much larger military, the Ukrainians regained more than half the territory that Russia occupied after its 2022 invasion. They’ve struck the Russian navy time and again, winning important victories in the Black Sea. And they’ve developed innovative weapons, especially drones, to counter Russian forces. Theirs is a fighting force with the will and the skill to win.

Meanwhile, as we saw this weekend, Israel’s military has the technology and training to defend the country against even an attack of unprecedented scope and ferocity.

But while both countries can capably defend their own sovereignty, they depend on American assistance, including weaponry, to do it. And this is a pivotal moment.

Vladimir Putin is ramping up his onslaught with help from his friends. China is providing Russia with microelectronics and other equipment that is critical for defense production. Iran is sending hundreds of drones; North Korea is providing artillery and ballistic missiles. Ukraine, facing ammunition shortfalls, is losing hold of territory it had regained.

After years of backing Hezbollah, Hamas and other proxies in their attacks on Israel, including Hamas’s brutal attack on Oct. 7, Iran launched a direct attack of its own—hoping to penetrate Israel’s air defense, including David’s Sling and the Iron Dome, which saved countless lives this weekend.

Both Ukraine and Israel are under attack by brazen adversaries that seek their annihilation. Mr. Putin wants to subjugate the people of Ukraine and absorb their nation into a new Russian empire. The government of Iran wants to destroy Israel forever—wiping the world’s only Jewish state off the map.

America must never accept either outcome—not only because we stand up for our friends, but because our security is on the line, too.

If Russia triumphs, Mr. Putin’s forces will move closer than ever to our North Atlantic Treaty Organization allies. “An attack on one is an attack on all” means that if Mr. Putin invades a NATO ally, we will come to its aid—as our NATO allies did for us after the Sept. 11 attacks. We should surge support to Ukraine now, to stop Mr. Putin from encroaching on our NATO allies and ensure that he doesn’t draw U.S. troops into a future war in Europe.

Likewise, if Iran succeeds in significantly escalating its assault on Israel, the U.S. could be drawn in. Israel is our strongest partner in the Middle East; it’s unthinkable that we would stand by if its defenses were weakened and Iran was able to carry out the destruction it intended this weekend. We can make that outcome less likely by replenishing Israel’s air defenses and providing military aid now, so its defenses can remain fully stocked and ready.

If Congress passes military aid for Ukraine and Israel, we won’t write blank checks. We’d send military equipment from our own stockpiles, then use the money authorized by Congress to replenish those stockpiles—by buying from American suppliers. That includes Patriot missiles made in Arizona, Javelin missiles made in Alabama, and artillery shells made in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Texas. We’d be investing in America’s industrial base, buying American products made by American workers, supporting jobs in nearly 40 states, and strengthening our own national security. We’d help our friends while helping ourselves.

I’ve been clear about my concerns over the safety of civilians in Gaza amid the war with Hamas, but this aid package is focused on Israel’s long-term defensive needs to ensure it can maintain its military edge against Iran or any other adversary. Importantly, this bill has funding that will allow us to continue delivering urgent humanitarian aid for the people of Gaza as well as others who have felt the impact of conflicts around the world.

It’s a strong and sensible plan. It shouldn’t be held hostage any longer by a small group of extreme Republican House members.

Mr. Putin has tried relentlessly to break the will of the Ukrainian people. He has failed. Now he’s trying to break the will of the West. We cannot let him succeed.

There are moments in history that call for leadership and courage. This is one of them.

Mr. Biden is president of the United States.

Wall Street Journal

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