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July 27, 2010

Joe Sestak: A True Friend to Israel

Listed in: Israel, Fact Sheets

Representative Joe Sestak, the Democratic nominee for Senate in Pennsylvania, has a strong record of supporting Israel. Through his leadership and participation in joint Naval exercises with Israel during his career in the U.S. Navy, Sestak acquired an intimate knowledge of Israel’s security issues.  He has visited the Jewish state numerous times and has met face to face with its leaders. Sestak has used his vote in the House of Representatives repeatedly to support aid to Israel and to strengthen the U.S.-Israel relationship.

 Below are some facts, statements, and highlights from Sestak’s strong pro-Israel record, which spans his career of service to the United States as a three-star Admiral and as a member of Congress.

This fact sheet can be downloaded as a pdf here.


Sestak has Repeatedly Voted in Favor of Substantive Bills that Support Israel:

During his time in the House of Representatives, Sestak has consistently voted to support Israel. Among other things, he voted for:

  • Bills containing annual economic and military aid to Israel;
  • H. Res 34, which recognizes Israel’s right to defend itself against attacks from Gaza;
  • H.R. 2194, The Iran Refined Petroleum Sanctions Act of 2009, of which Sestak was a cosponsor;
  • H.R. 1400, the Iran Counter-Proliferation Act of 2007, which designated Iran’s Revolutionary Guards as a terrorist organization;
  • An increase in funding for the U.S.-Israel cooperative short-range missile defense program, “David’s Sling,” in Fiscal Year 2010;
  • $205 million in supplemental funding for Israel’s nearly-completed Iron Dome missile shield;
  • $2.4 billion in Foreign Military Financing, $631.2 million of which went to Israel in 2008; and
  • H.R. 6, the Renewable Fuels Consumer Protection and Energy Efficiency Act of 2007, which calls for U.S.-Israel energy cooperation.


More information is available at


Sestak has a Strong Record of Defending Israel:


“I would have put my life on the line any day gladly for Israel, as I did for America.”

- Representative Joe Sestak, Associated Press, July 16, 2010


“[On] April 22, 2009, Congressman Sestak (PA-07) met with Arieh Herzog, Director of the Israeli Missile Defense Organization, Brigadier General Pinchas Barel Buchris, Director General of the Israeli Ministry of Defense, and several other government officials.

The purpose of this meeting was to discuss the security interests of Israel, both short and long-term. Specifically, the conversation focused on the regional ballistic missile threat posed by Iran, and defensive measures of common interest. These include missile defense systems, some of which the United States and Israel are currently developing together.”

- State News Service, April 22, 2009


“While serving as an Admiral in the US navy for 31 years, Congressman Sestak had many relations with Israeli military officers over the years, particularly those in the Navy - and has gained first-hand knowledge in the matters of Israeli military security.”

- The Philadelphia Jewish Voice, January 2008



Sestak Supports Strengthening the Special U.S.-Israel Relationship:


“I am proud to have visited Israel at least five times and to have seen firsthand the courage and steadfast resolve of its people. Throughout Israel’s nearly 60-year history, Israelis have fought overwhelming odds to reestablish the birthplace of the Jewish People, and today it remains the only democracy in the Middle East. Surrounded by challenges on all sides, Israel is steadfastly working towards its goals of peace and security.”

- Representative Joe Sestak, State News Service, February 24, 2008


“Israel remains a vital ally to the United States and I was proud to meet with and work with some of its leading defense figures. I look forward to continued cooperation and friendship between our two nations in the years ahead.”

- Representative Joe Sestak, State News Service, April 22, 2009


“Through my 31 years as an Admiral in the US Navy, I have witnessed not only the great efficacy of the Israeli military, but also the value of Israel as the leading alley of our nation in that region. I intend to enhance this relationship in Congress as continued relations between the US and Israel are essential to developing and facilitating a lasting peace in the region.”

- Representative Joe Sestak, The Philadelphia Jewish Voice, January 2008


“...Congressman Sestak touched on a number of facets regarding the special relationship between the United States and Israel, including the economies of the two nations. The United States is Israel’s main trading partner and the Congressman said that [the role] American companies have in the Israeli economy bolsters Israel’s national security. 

To that end, the Congressman recently voted for H.R. 6, the Renewable Fuels, Consumer Protection, and Energy Efficiency Act of 2007, which called for U.S- Israeli energy cooperation and authorized the Secretary of Energy to make grants to businesses, academic institutions, and nonprofit entities in Israel. He also voted for the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2008, which provides $2.4 billion in Foreign Military Financing, of which $631.2 million may be spent in Israel, with $40 million for refugee assistance.”

- State News Service, February 24, 2008



Sestak is Committed to Achieving Middle East Peace:

“In his discussion of the peace process in the Middle East, the Congressman said that he was a proponent of the Roadmap for Peace, the two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and added that United States should be more engaged with diplomacy in the Middle East. He stated that the ‘military stops problems, but diplomacy fixes problems.’”

- State News Service, February 24, 2008


“I believe that safety and security will only be achieved by creating peace in the region, and a two-state solution is the most viable way to achieve this.”

- Representative Joe Sestak, The Philadelphia Jewish Voice, January 2008