OpinionU.S.-Israel Relations

How does the US benefit from aid to Israel? Let us count the ways

The Jewish state is a military and commercial force multiplier for the United States, and one that yields a few hundred percent annual rate-of-return to the American taxpayer.

Indiana Gov. Eric J. Holcomb takes an up-close look at an Iron Dome air-defense battery while in the south of Israel, May 2021. Credit: Imagine Indiana/Flickr.
Indiana Gov. Eric J. Holcomb takes an up-close look at an Iron Dome air-defense battery while in the south of Israel, May 2021. Credit: Imagine Indiana/Flickr.
Yoram Ettinger
Yoram Ettinger
Yoram Ettinger is a former ambassador and head of Second Thought: A U.S.-Israel Initiative.

The remarkable performance of Israel’s Iron Dome missile-defense system during the May 2021 Gaza war against Hamas terrorists was another milestone in the mutually beneficial U.S.-Israel alliance.

The Iron Dome was fully developed by Israel, mostly funded by the United States, and co-manufactured by Israel and (mostly) the United States. Upon completion of the development by Israel’s Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, the game-changing technology was shared with the U.S. defense giant Raytheon, sparing the United States many years and billions of dollars of research and development.

Moreover, the Iron Dome’s performance during the recent Gaza War has raised the interest of several countries (e.g., South Korea, Japan, Singapore, India, Poland, the Baltic states and Latin American countries) in acquiring the system, which would increase U.S. exports and expand the employment base of the U.S. defense industry.

In addition, the U.S. Army may expand its existing inventory of two Iron Dome batteries, leveraging Israel’s battle experience, which has systematically enhanced the performance of the Iron Dome, to advance the defense of its own soldiers.

Hamas: A mutual threat

Hamas is an Islamic terrorist organization, a proxy of Iran’s Ayatollahs, whose machete is at the throat of every pro-U.S. Arab regime and whose strategic goal is to dominate the Persian Gulf, the Middle East and beyond, by overwhelming the United States.

Hamas is a branch of the global Muslim Brotherhood network and a role model of repression and terrorism, which throws its political opponents off the roofs of Gaza towers.

Both Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood—as enunciated by Muslim Brotherhood founder Hassan al-Banna, its key strategist Sayyid Qutb and its top contemporary authority Yusuf al-Qaradawi—view Israel as an “infidel,” illegitimate entity in the “abode of Islam” and a strategic beachhead of the United States. They are committed to a “holy war” against the Jewish state, in order to advance the Koran-based goal of dominating the world under a universal Islamic society, which requires the (peaceful or violent) submission of the “infidel” West to Islam. Hence the multitude of Muslim Brotherhood organizations, from Pakistan in the east to South and North America in the west.

Thus, al-Qaradawi declared that “Islam will return to Europe as a victorious conqueror after having been expelled twice. This time, it will not be a conquest by the sword, but by preaching and spreading [Islamic] ideology…. The spread of Islam until it conquers the entire world paves the road to the return of the Islamic Caliphate.”

The Muslim Brotherhood considers migration of Muslims to the West to be a tactic to overwhelm the “infidel,” just like the seventhcentury migration (Hijrah) of Mohammad from Mecca to Medina, which paved the road to the establishment of the Islamic Empire from the Arabian Peninsula to Spain.

Professor Albert Hourani, who was a leading Middle East historian at Oxford University, wrote (“A History of the Arab Peoples,” pp. 445-446) that the tenets of the Muslim Brotherhood include “a total rejection of all forms of society except the wholly Islamic one … which accepted the sovereign authority of [Allah] …. The leadership of Western man in the human world is coming to an end.”

Moreover, Article 8 of the Hamas Charter stipulates that “Jihad [holy war] is the path of Hamas, and death for the sake of Allah is the most exalted wish.” Article 13 states that “There is no solution to the Palestinian problem except Jihad.” Article 31 notes that “The three monotheistic religions—Islam, Christianity and Judaism—can live side by side under the aegis of Islam.”

America benefits from its annual investment in Israel

Israel’s swift victory over Egypt, Syria and Jordan in 1967 devastated the pro-USSR and anti-U.S. Egyptian military, which had attempted to overtake the pro-U.S. Arab oil-producing countries, at a time when the United States was heavily dependent upon Persian Gulf oil. The Israeli victory denied the USSR a strategic bonanza and spared the United States a national security and economic calamity.

Thus, since 1967, the U.S.-Israel saga has increasingly become a mutually beneficial affair, in the following manner:

1. Israel is the most productive, cost-effective, battle-tested laboratory for the U.S. defense industries and armed forces, as demonstrated by the F-35, F-16 and F-15 fighter jets—as well as by hundreds of additional U.S. military systems employed by Israel. This unique Israeli combat experience has promoted U.S. military systems throughout the world, advancing U.S. exports.

The Israeli experience/lessons have been constantly shared with the U.S. manufacturers and the U.S. Air Force. It has upgraded the quality of U.S. combat aircraft, thus sparing the U.S. defense industry many years and billions of dollars in research and development; enhancing U.S. competitiveness in global competition; increasing U.S. exports and expanding the U.S. employment base. The Israeli laboratory has yielded a mega-billion-dollar bonanza to the U.S. defense industries and enhanced the performance of the U.S. Air Force and other branches of the U.S. military.

Israel’s battle experience has been shared with the U.S. armed forces, such as special forces on their way to Iraq and Afghanistan, who spend two to three weeks in Israel being trained by Israel’s top experts on neutralizing car bombs, suicide bombers and Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs).

Furthermore, the Israeli battle experience (wars and counter-terrorism) has been shared with the United States, impacting much of the U.S. Army battle-tactic formulation in Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas.

2. Israel is the most productive external source of military intelligence for the United States, exceeding all NATO countries combined (e.g., the entire Iranian nuclear archive; battle tactics of potential and actual enemies; advantages and disadvantages of hostile military systems; counter-terrorism; and preempting Middle East flare-ups). Israel has assisted in foiling anti-U.S. terrorism and attempts to topple pro-U.S. Arab regimes.

According to Gen. George Keegan, a former chief of U.S. Air Force Intelligence: “I could not have procured the intelligence [received from Israel] with five CIAs.” In order to realistically assess the magnitude of Israel’s contribution to U.S. intelligence, one should note that the annual budget of the CIA is about $15 billion.

3. Israel is a most innovative hub of U.S. commercial high-tech, second only to the United States, hosting research and development centers of some 250 U.S. high-tech giants, such as Intel, Microsoft, Amazon, Cisco, Apple, HP, Kodak, Google, Facebook, IBM, AOL, Applied Materials, Johnson & Johnson, etc. These U.S. giants leverage the brainpower of Israel—the “Startup Nation”—in order to expand U.S. production, exports and employment.

4. Israel is a uniquely reliable, effective and democratic outpost of the United States in the extremely critical area between Europe, Asia and Africa, the Mediterranean, the Red Sea, the Indian Ocean, the Arabian Sea and the Persian Gulf, which extends the strategic reach of the United States, with no need for additional U.S. military personnel.

Also, Israel’s posture of deterrence, defense technologies, battle experience, intelligence network and training capabilities play a major role in securing the highly vulnerable pro-U.S. Arab regimes (e.g., Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Oman, Morocco), which face existential threats from Iran’s Ayatollahs, the Muslim Brotherhood and Islamic State.

As stated by the late Gen. Alexander Haig, a former Supreme Commander of NATO and U.S. Secretary of State: Israel is the largest U.S. aircraft carrier, which does not require a single boot on board, is located in a most strategic area for U.S. military and economic interests, and cannot be sunk. If there were not an Israel in the eastern flank of the Mediterranean, the United States would have to dispatch a few more aircraft carriers to the region, in addition to a few more ground divisions, at an annual (manufacturing, deployment, maintenance) cost of $15 billion to $20 billion.

In conclusion, Israel is a unique military and commercial force multiplier for the United States.

Accordingly, the United States makes an annual investment in, rather than extending foreign aid to, Israel, which yields a few hundred percent annual rate-of-return to the American taxpayer.

Yoram Ettinger is a former ambassador and head of Second Thought: A U.S.-Israel Initiative.

This article was first published by The Ettinger Report.

The opinions and facts presented in this article are those of the author, and neither JNS nor its partners assume any responsibility for them.
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