Yoram Ettinger
Yoram EttingerCourtesy

The U.S. does not give foreign aid to Israel — the U.S. makes an annual investment in Israel, giving US taxpayers a return of several hundred percent.

While Israel is a grateful recipient of U.S. military systems, it also serves as a battle-tested, cost-effective laboratory for the U.S. defense and aerospace industries, (employing 3.5 million Americans). This enhances U.S. performance on the battlefield and the U.S. economy, national security and homeland security.

Here are a few examples.

In defense: The Israeli Air Force flies the U.S.'s Lockheed-Martin’s F-16 and F-35 combat aircraft, providing both Lockheed-Martin and the U.S. Air Force with invaluable information on operations, maintenance and repairs, which is then used to manufacture a multitude of upgrades for next-generation aircraft. Just the F-16 itself has been improved by several hundred Israeli-driven upgrades, sparing Lockheed-Martin 10-20 years of research and developments, which amounts to billions of dollars.

Israel is the Triple-A store for Lockheed-Martin, Boeing, Raytheon, G.D., Northrop Grumman, and many other U.S. defense and aerospace companies. This enhances the image of these companies abroad and multiplies their export markets, because other countries assume that if Israel — with its unique national security challenges — uses these companies’ products, they must be of high quality.

The U.S. is also trained by Israeli experts in neutralizing car bombs, suicide bombers and IEDs, and US combat pilots benefit greatly from joint maneuvers with their highly experienced Israeli counterparts.

In intelligence:
According to a former head of the U.S. Air Force Intelligence, Gen. George Keegan, the U.S. would have to establish five CIAs to procure the intelligence provided by Israel (the CIA’s annual budget is around $15 billion).

According to the late Sen. Daniel Inouye, (Chairman of the Senate Appropriations and Intelligence Committees), the scope of Israeli intelligence shared with the U.S. exceeded that provided by all NATO countries combined. Israeli intelligence helped foil sinister plots against the U.S., secured airliners and airports and provided vital data on advanced Soviet/Russian military systems.

Israel is a unique force multiplier for the U.S., helping to extend America’s strategic reach, so it can secure vulnerable pro-U.S. Arab oil-producing regimes and deter wars and terrorism. With Israel’s help, the U.S. can do this without deploying additional troops, which is not the case with countries like Japan and South Korea, in addition to 100,000 US troops in Europe.

Gen. Alexander Haig, who served as NATO’s Supreme Commander and U.S. Secretary of State, and Adm. Elmo Zumwalt assessed that “Israel is the largest U.S. aircraft carrier, which does not require American soldiers on board, cannot be sunk and is deployed in a most critical region – between Europe, Asia and Africa - sparing the U.S. the need to manufacture, deploy and maintain a few more real aircraft carriers and additional ground divisions, which would cost the U.S. taxpayer some $15 billion annually.”

In tech: More than 200 top American high-tech companies — such as Intel, Microsoft, Cisco, IBM, Apple, Johnson & Johnson, Google and Facebook — have established R&D centers in Israel. They use Israel’s brainpower to increase production, exports and employment. They realize that Israel is a critical partner in sustaining their edge over China, Russia, Europe and Japan in the development and manufacture of tech.

The U.S.-Israel strategic relationship constitutes a classic case of a mutually- beneficial two-way street; one that enhances the economies and defense of both countries and benefits Israeli and American taxpayers alike.

Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettingeris author of “Second Thought: a US-Israel Initiative” and can be reached at https://bit.ly/3L1ejAZ

Yoram will be available for speaking engagements in the US during spring 2023: Israel's contributions to the US economy & defense outweigh US foreign aid to Israel; Myth of Arab demographic time bomb; Iran - negotiation or confrontation? President Biden's Middle East policy; US pressure - testing US realism and Israeli leadership; 400-year-old roots of US-Israel kinship; Palestinian state's impact on US interests; Arab talk vs. Arab walk on Palestinians; Is the Palestinian issue the crux of the Arab-Israeli conflict and a core cause of regional turbulence? Islamic terrorists bite the hands that feed them; Middle East reality vs. Western conventional wisdom, etc.