Upcoming U.S. budget cuts are likely to reduce military aid to Israel by over $700 million in the 2013 fiscal year, sources in Washington told Israel’s Globes.
The cut includes a $250 million reduction in current aid, which is due to total $3.15 billion, and the possible loss of all financial aid for joint US-Israeli missile defense programs, amounting to $479 million, for a total of $729 million in reduced aid. The best case scenario would see aid for anti-missile programs only reduced, rather than eliminated, with Israel “only” losing $300 million in aid.
According to Globes, military aid to Israel for the current fiscal year will be cut by $240-260 million, depending on how the sequester is calculated. However, there is growing concern that US aid this year for Israel’s anti-missile programs will not be reduced proportionately, but will be eliminated altogether. “So far as is known at this stage, the fate of the aid for missiles is not the fate of the current military aid,” a source told Globes. “We have to hope that that won’t be the final situation.”
Israel is supposed to receive $211 million in US aid this year to go towards more Iron Dome batteries alone, and $268 million for “current US-Israeli missile programs;” i.e. the Arrow anti-ballistic missile system, and the David’s Sling medium-range anti-missile interceptor. According to Globes, “If the aid packages for missile systems is eliminated, and the reduction in current military aid is added, Israel will lose almost $750 million in US military aid in the 2013 fiscal year. If the budget cut for the missile programs is proportional, Israel will lose just over $300 million in military aid.”
The upcoming budget cuts set to pound the US economy could reduce the Pentagon’s budget by $500 billion, spread over ten years. The sequester, also known as the fiscal cliff 2, is the result of the deadlock in negotiations between the White House and Congress to raise the US debt ceiling.
Israel’s friends in Congress are well aware of Israel’s distress, but their hands are tied, the sources told Globes. The sequester allows no exceptions. Moreover, under the current political reality, members of Congress cannot be seen to act on behalf of another country when the cuts are set to harm tens of millions of Americans.