In his address to Congress Tuesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu thanked President Barack Obama -- with whom he has notoriously difficult relations -- and the U.S. for standing with Israel against political attacks and military threats over the years. Netanyahu’s praise came as he urged members of Congress to oppose U.S.-led negotiations on Iran’s nuclear program, arguing that any agreement would still give the Iranians the capacity to build a nuclear bomb.
Perhaps as a way to smooth over the tensions built up between Obama and Netanyahu -- and maybe as a last-ditch effort to thwart the Iran talks -- the highly anticipated speech also made mention of four separate occasions in recent years when the U.S. has helped Israel. "I will always be grateful to President Obama for that support," the prime minister said.
"Last summer, millions of Israelis were protected from thousands of Hamas rockets because this Capitol dome helped build our Iron Dome." In 2014, the U.S. opposed 18 General Assembly resolutions that were biased against Israel, according to the White House. On five occasions last year, America was the only “no” vote against anti-Israel measures in the U.N. Human Rights Council. Earlier this year, the U.S. worked with the European Union to organize the first ever General Assembly session addressing anti-Semitism.
"Or his support for more missile interceptors during our operation last summer when we took on Hamas terrorists." The White House says it stepped up security assistance funding to Israel in the fiscal year 2014. A sum of $225 million in military-related funding was provided last year during the Hamas rocket attacks. More than $1.3 billion in American funding has been provided for Israel's Iron Dome anti-missile system since 2011.
"I called him in 2010 when we had the Carmel forest fire, and he immediately agreed to respond to my request for urgent aid," Netanyahu said during the speech. The Mount Carmel forest fires in northern Israel in December 2010 claimed more than 40 lives. The U.S. government sent thousands of gallons of fire retardant to Israel, along with a USAID Disaster Assistance Response Team of fire management experts, according to the Environment News Service. At the time, Netanyahu called the fire a "catastrophe the likes of which we have never known.”
"In 2011, we had our embassy in Cairo under siege, and again, he provided vital assistance at the crucial moment." During the Egyptian revolution, protesters had breached a security wall outside the compound, ransacked the interior and threatened the personnel, according to multiple reports. The Anti-Defamation League, a Jewish organization, noted the role Obama and then-Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta played in communicating with the Egyptian military to ensure more than 80 personnel could be airlifted to safety in Israel.