After Biden's visit to Israel: Strengthen defense ties with the US - opinion

The opportunity to deepen Israel’s strategic depth through the Abraham Accords enables it to create an effective military option that could pose a threat to Iran.

 A V-22 in action.  (photo credit: Corey Lewis/US Navy)
A V-22 in action.
(photo credit: Corey Lewis/US Navy)

The US president’s visit to Israel is an opportunity to explore ways to deepen diplomatic and defense cooperation with the United States. Over the years, various courses of action have risen and fallen, including the establishment of a defense alliance with the United States, the deepening of security and intelligence cooperation and, more recently, the integration into a regional defense alliance, such as NATO.

It is important to mention that Israel already has a significant defense asset in the form of the Congress Action Document of June 2012: US-Israel Enhanced Security Cooperation Act of 2012. The document anchors the strategic cooperation between the countries and puts the friendly relations with the United States on solid grounds.

Throughout the years of its existence, Israel has been able to deal with a variety of threats on its own, but the backbone of the US has always been stable, even if there have been ups and downs from time to time. The Abraham Accords created a rare opportunity to build deep defense cooperation against radical Iran and its allies. Facing Iran requires the building of effective military capabilities that will enable Israel to undermine Iran’s nuclear programs, build the relevant military capabilities as well as to fatally harm Tehran’s allies in Lebanon and Gaza.

Directions the US can help Israel

In this context, there are a number of directions in which the US can assist Israel both in short-term capabilities (several years) and in building medium- and long-term power. During the upcoming conversations with the president of the United States and his team, it is in Israel’s best interest that a number of issues will be raised by the Israeli teams:

First, the way forward with the offensive cyber crisis. In light of American pressure, the State of Israel has reduced the number of countries that will be allowed to receive offensive cyber capabilities to a quarter of what has been acceptable until recently. This reduction will severely damage the Israeli cyber industry.

US President Joe Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid sign a security pledge at Waldorf Astoria Hotel in Jerusalem, Israel July 14, 2022 (credit: ATEF SAFADI/POOL VIA REUTERS)US President Joe Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid sign a security pledge at Waldorf Astoria Hotel in Jerusalem, Israel July 14, 2022 (credit: ATEF SAFADI/POOL VIA REUTERS)

The civilian industry in Israel has been able to develop unprecedented cyber capabilities over the past 20 years. It would be in Israel’s best interest to raise this issue with the president of the US and explain that the intensity of the damage to the economy and security of Israel will be very severe. 

Second, in the face of an Iranian effort based on two fronts – the nuclear effort and the proxies’ effort to surround and harm Israel with fire and terrorism – Israel must build its power in a balanced and multi-dimensional way. Relying on intelligence and accurate firing will not allow for a systematic and complete response to the challenge of Iranian strategy. Indeed, it is very important to be equipped with penetrating armaments, long-range airstrikes and refueling capabilities, but at the same time to develop capabilities for short-distance maneuvers (Lebanon, Syria and Gaza) and long-distance ones (Lebanon, Syria and Iran). 

For this purpose, it is essential for Israel to bring up and request US President Joe Biden’s assistance in building powerful special forces capabilities for the deep, third circle front. These capabilities can be obtained by adding advanced and fast platforms such as the V-22 aircraft, which allows longer-range work with faster response speeds.

The V-22 can also be essential in rescue operations that involve reaching downed air force pilots. In addition, the fact that there is a possibility to receive a quick delivery of the V-22 aircraft is also extremely essential to Israel. Such a delivery can be as quick as one to two years, which will allow closing the troubling gap between receiving the new helicopters and taking out the outdated ones. 

The opportunity to deepen Israel’s strategic depth through the Abraham Accords enables it to create an effective military option that could pose a threat to Iran and, if necessary, become a course of action using a variety of combined capabilities of Israel’s Persian Gulf allies.

The writer, an IDF colonel (res.), heads the Military and Strategic Affairs Program and Cyber Security Program at the Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security and is editor of the journal Cyber, Intelligence, and Security.