Jan 27. 2017
What Aid to Israel Buys America – Evelyn Gordon (Commentary)
- One demand that Donald Trump repeatedly raised is for U.S. allies to contribute more to the costs of their defense. Thus, it’s worth recalling why Israel is America’s largest recipient of military aid, and why it’s cheap at the price.
- Unlike all the other allies Trump complains about, Israel isn’t under America’s military protection and doesn’t want to be. It never has and never will ask American troops to defend it. The annual aid helps Israel purchase the weaponry it needs to defend itself by itself. Israel genuinely doesn’t want America to protect it militarily. The belief that it must defend itself by itself is deeply ingrained in Israel and enjoys wall-to-wall consensus.
- While aid to Israel currently totals $3.1 billion a year, and is slated to rise to $3.8 billion in 2019, it’s cheap compared to the cost of U.S. troop deployments to protect other American allies. For instance, maintaining U.S. bases in Japan costs America $5.5 billion a year, and that’s in a country where troops haven’t had to fire a shot in decades.
- Nor can Israel be accused of failing to contribute financially to its own defense. While 23 of NATO’s 28 members spend less than 2% of GDP on defense, Israel spends 5.2%, well above America’s 3.5%.
- Last July, Ha’aretz reported that in the battle against ISIS, “According to Western intelligence sources, Israel has supplied more intelligence to its allies than any other intelligence organization.”
- With regard to combat testing of U.S. weapons systems, America’s F-16 fighters contain over 600 modifications introduced by Israel. As Ha’aretz reported in 2010, “between 10% and 15% of every new F-16 made in America…consists of Israeli systems.”
- Israel’s destruction of a Syrian nuclear reactor in 2007 prevented ISIS from getting its hands on the raw material for a nuclear bomb. The reactor was located in one of the swathes of Syria ISIS captured. Similarly, America was able to defend its allies in the Gulf War only because Israel had destroyed Iraq’s nuclear program a decade earlier.
(Click on the article’s title to see the whole article…Ed.)