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April 3, 2014 9:49 pm

Should Israel Accept American Aid?

avatar by Ronn Torossian

Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, observing a war drill in the Golan Heights. Photo: Kobi Gideon / GPO.

Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, observing a war drill in the Golan Heights. Photo: Kobi Gideon / GPO.

In recent years, a number of valiant Israeli nationalists, including the current Economy Minister, Naftali Bennett of the Jewish Home Party, Rabbi Benny Elon, former Israeli cabinet member from the National Union Party, and former Defense Minister Moshe Arens have suggested that Israel should consider no longer accepting American aid.

While I am not an economic expert, there are ample political – and practical – reasons to suggest that perhaps an end to American aid to Israel would benefit both great nations. Both nations should be reminded that Israel is an independent country that makes decisions that are in its own best interests”Ž.

Perhaps the time has come for a forceful public relations campaign from Zionist Israeli politicians to push the point further during times like these when, despite all the chaos in the world, America continues to pressure Israel. As Bennett noted in an interview last year, “Today, U.S. military aid is roughly 1 percent of Israel’s economy.” He continued, “I think, generally, we need to free ourselves from it.” While nearly 74 percent of those funds are spent in America on military hardware, one wonders how much extra pressure Israel faces as one of the largest recipients of American foreign aid.

Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon earned the ire of the U.S. “Žwhen he said in January that Secretary of State John Kerry was obsessed with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, was motivated by a messianic complex, and should just “take his Nobel Prize and leave us alone.”

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Ya’alon again recently angered State Department officials when, during a speech at Tel Aviv University, he noted that Israel must approach Iran “as though we have nobody to look out for us but ourselves.” He continued, “If you sit and wait at home, the terrorism will come again,” and “Even if you hunker down, it will come – This is a war of civilizations. If your image is feebleness, it doesn’t pay in the world. Nobody will replace the United States as global policeman. I hope the United States comes to its senses. If it doesn’t, it will challenge the world order, and the United States is the one that will suffer.”

While State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said “an apology would be a natural next step,” Ya’alon spoke the truth and shouldn’t apologize. The reality is that Ya’alon’s words are true.

Ya’alon further spoke the truth last week when he said, “The aid must be put in proportion. It is not really an American favor, it’s an interest. It is not as if we only take, we also give.” He noted that Israel provides America with “quality intelligence and technology.”

Ya’alon’s remarks reminded me of that old Israeli t-shirt one can buy in Jerusalem’s markets – “America, don’t worry, Israel is behind you” – when he noted that Israel invented the Iron Dome missile defense system, the wings of the F-35 stealth fighter, and the Arrow anti-ballistic missile.

Nations do not have friends – they have allies. (Except with Obama, when even allies aren’t allies as Egypt and other nations have learned.) “ŽWhile Israel should be grateful for American support, wise people will realize that Israel is a genuine ally in a battle against Muslim fundamentalists.

And America should remember that Israel is an independent nation that can build and protect her citizens as she sees fit. As Prime Minister Menachem Begin stated in a note to President Jimmy Carter: “Are we a vassal state of yours? Are we a banana republic? Are we youths of fourteen who, if they don’t behave properly, are slapped across the fingers? Let me tell you who this government is composed of. It is composed of people whose lives were spent in resistance, in fighting and in suffering. You will not frighten us with ‘punishments.’ He who threatens us will find us deaf to his threats. We are only prepared to listen to rational arguments. You have no right to ‘punish’ Israel – and I protest at the very use of this term.”

“The people of Israel has lived 3,700 years without a memorandum of understanding with America – and it will continue to live for another 3,700. We have enough strength to defend our independence and to defend our rights.”

Israel is not America’s child and Israel’s Defense Minister should not apologize to a State Department whose policies have wrecked havoc in the world. Israel is a sovereign country with a strong economy, and is a true ally of America in the ongoing Judeo-Christian war against terror.

Perhaps an end to Israel receiving foreign aid will enable Israel to act as she wishes all the time. Israel should always be thinking about her own interests – even as America (wrongly) continues to feed extensive aid to the Palestinian Authority, Egypt, and other Arab nations.

As an eternal student of Ze’ev Jabotinsky, who believed in capitalism and firmly advocated for Israel’s economy to be a free market, I wonder if Jabotinsky would have advocated for foreign aid to Israel at the risk of Israeli subservience to America. One wonders how much that 1% in GDP costs Israel in Israeli liberty and sovereignty?

A strong America-Israel relationship is good for both of these great countries.

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