Why Israel should be against the current US foreign ‘aid’ - opinion

Over 90% of this money must be used as credit for buying weapons from companies within the US, basically subsidizing their arms industry.

The US Capitol building, which contains the House of Representatives and the Senate. (photo credit: PIXABAY)
The US Capitol building, which contains the House of Representatives and the Senate.
(photo credit: PIXABAY)

Foreign Minister Yair Lapid agreed on June 17 to a request from US Secretary of State Antony Blinken “that Israel not surprise Washington with any moves against Iran.” In other words, Lapid has accepted that Israel must let the US know of any necessary operations in order to secure its own borders from the external threat of the Islamic Republic. And this, regardless of the US wanting to re-enter the Iranian nuclear deal, is cause for the heightened concern in the first place.

To comprehend the full picture, one must first understand how US foreign aid works. Israel receives billions of dollars from the US per year, but don’t be fooled: it is not free cash. Over 90% of this money must be used as credit for buying weapons from companies within the US, basically subsidizing their arms industry. Israel also signs off on its rights to purchase or sell military technology from or to other countries without US approval. This is not aid. This is entrapment.

In practice, many Israeli companies such as Brill, an Israeli boots manufacturing company that once supplied the IDF, have had to close down due to Israel needing to find more ways to spend the additional credit. In the 1980s, the US even forced Israel to halt its production of the LAVI fighter plane, which would have allowed Israel to free its air force from US sourcing and gain independent strength. Imagine how many jobs and industries could be created if the nation invested in its long-term future. There is a repeated theme that is tied with this particular contract of foreign aid, and that is making sure Israel never becomes fully independent.

Let’s be clear, there is no issue with having relations with the United States, even “aid” contracts such as the ones it has with Germany and Sweden. The current relationship, however, could be detrimental to Israel’s long-term safety. Israel exists in a region where it has to learn from its past, make sure to evaluate every possibility, and be prepared for all scenarios.

The idea that Israel needs US support to survive couldn’t be further from the truth. It should be noted that all of Israel’s major achievements on the battlefield – 1948, 1967 and 1973 – all came before the current “aid” deal and prove otherwise.

 IRON DOME interceptors destroy rockets launched from the Gaza Strip toward Israel in the skies over Ashkelon in May. (credit: AMIR COHEN/REUTERS) IRON DOME interceptors destroy rockets launched from the Gaza Strip toward Israel in the skies over Ashkelon in May. (credit: AMIR COHEN/REUTERS)

With growing concern over anti-Israel sentiments within the US, Jerusalem must see this recent blunder as a warning sign of what could possibly lie ahead. The likelihood of a future administration becoming more openly hostile to Israel than any in the past seems increasingly likely. If such a decision in the future like the recent bill to defund the Iron Dome by Rep. Alexander Ocasio-Cortez had to pass, Israel will quite literally be left defenseless with its hands tied behind its back.

The mistakes of the past with this particular “aid” deal are easy to judge in hindsight, but our ancestors didn’t fight for our liberation only to render us reliant on the congressional decisions of another country. Israel must have the foresight and assume the responsibilities that come with power and national maturity to renegotiate the current arms deal, to maintain US-Israel relations but reform them from the current position in which they exist so as to limit defenseless dependency.

The writer is a political journalist who focuses on the Jewish world, antisemitism, Zionism and Israel.