Op-Ed: Should Israel Seek An End To American Foreign Aid?
As a follow-up to my last op-ed that Israel is not an American vassal state, naturally people think: Well, America gives Israel so much money, then they can tell Israel what to do.
In fact, American aid to Israel is only 1.5% of Israel’s total budget. And most of these funds must be spent in the United States on the acquisition of American defense equipment, services and training. As someone who loves both America & Israel, both nations strategically benefit from close relations. However, both are independent entities who need to do what is best for them.
In Israel, America receives a long-time loyal ally in a region which has vast strategic importance. From intelligence gathering to democracy, Israel’s values resonate for America in a Middle East dominated by countries with a historic opposition to Christian-Judeo values.
Israel of course – in good times - gets an ally of a superpower. And Israel benefits from funding, as do countless other American allies around the world.
Rightfully, a number of Israeli politicians in recent years have called for a reduction of elimination of American foreign aid, including Economic Minister Naftali Bennett, Rabbi Benny Elon, former Israeli cabinet member from the National Union Party, and former Defense Minister Moshe Arens.
Bennett, Elon and Arens note that Israel can get by without American aid. Bennett in a 2013 interview said “Today, U.S. military aid is roughly 1 percent of Israel’s economy,” and continued, “I think, generally, we need to free ourselves from it.”
Israel is not America’s child, nor a vassal state.
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