America-Israel Security Cooperation

America-Israel Security Cooperation

© David Burton 2016

America-Israel Security 2016

     In mid-2016, the U.S. and Israel signed a 10-year,$38 billion security deal - the U.S.’s largest ever aid package to Israel. The aid agreement is not, however, a one-way arrangement – most of this money flows back to the United States!

     In the past, while “nearly 90% of US aid to Israel is military, Israel spends about 75% of that buying U.S. goods. This aid has been described as an indirect American subsidy to U.S. arms manufacturers.” (Ref. 1) By 2020, 100% of that aid will be spent on American made goods. “Israel has agreed to a gradual phasing out of the practice by which as much as 26% of the US aid could be spent on contracts with Israeli defense industries. Instead, all the aid will have to be spent on US defense contractors who will supply Israel.” [Emphasis mine] (Ref. 2)

     “Traditionally, America’s billions in military aid have been constructed, in part, as a subsidy for U.S. manufactures, with Jerusalem required to expend some three quarters of the fund in the United States. [Emphasis mine]
     “But Jerusalem will no longer be allowed to spend 26 percent of the money on supplies and services by local {Israeli} contractors.  . . .
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     “. . . {T}he new deal will cost Israeli manufacturing jobs.  . . .
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     “Small and medium-sized companies will be affected as they will lose business, unlike larger firms that can rely on export income to help weather the storm.” (Ref. 3)

     While Israeli defense contractors may suffer because of the new security arrangement, American companies stand to benefit. As Representative Vicky Hartzler (R-MO) who serves on the House Armed Services Committee wrote: “the foreign military sales process has a critical impact on U. S. national security.  . . . Foreign military sales save the Department of Defense, and therefore the U.S. taxpayer, staggering amounts of money.  . . . When the United States sells defense equipment to our international partners, it provides stability and cost savings for our own domestic use.” (Ref. 2) So, with some 76% now and 100% in four years of that recently announced security deal money flowing back to U.S. defense contractors, the America-Israel security arrangement will benefit the U.S. as well as Israel – a win-win situation.

     “The U.S.-Israeli alliance now contributes more than ever to American security, as bilateral cooperation to deal with both military and nonmilitary challenges has grown in recent years.  . . . the United States has provided Israel with indispensable diplomatic, economic, and military support totaling more than $115 billion since 1949. But it is a two-way partnership whose benefits to the United States have been substantial.  . . .
     “U.S.-Israeli security cooperation dates back to heights of the Cold War, when the Jewish state came to be seen in Washington as a bulwark against Soviet influence in the Middle East and a counter to Arab nationalism. Although the world has changed since then, the strategic logic for the U.S.-Israeli alliance has not. Israel remains a counterweight against radical forces in the Middle East, including political Islam and violent extremism. It has also prevented the further proliferation of weapons of mass destruction in the region by thwarting Iraq and Syria's nuclear programs.
     “Israel continues to help the United States deal with traditional security threats. The two countries share intelligence on terrorism, nuclear proliferation, and Middle Eastern politics. Israel's military experiences have shaped the United States' approach to counterterrorism and homeland security. The two governments work together to develop sophisticated military technology, such as the David's Sling counter-rocket and Arrow missile defense systems, . . . Israel has also emerged as an important niche defense supplier to the U.S. military, with sales growing from $300 million per year before September 11 to $1.1 billion in 2006, due to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Israel's military research and development complex has pioneered many cutting-edge technologies that are transforming the face of modern war, including cyberweapons, unmanned vehicles (such as land robots and aerial drones), sensors and electronic warfare systems, and advanced defenses for military vehicles.” (Ref. 4)

     “In the field of military intelligence Israel is arguably the world's leading expert in collecting intelligence on terrorist groups and in counter-terrorism. It provides intelligence and know-how to the U.S. According to Maj. Gen. George J. Keegan Jr., former head of U.S. Air Force intelligence, America's military defense capability ‘owes more to the Israeli intelligence input than it does to any single source of intelligence,’ the worth of which input, he estimated, exceeds ‘five CIAs.’ “ (Ref. 5)

     Clearly, America receives more than just the money returned to this country in the form of Israeli purchases on American weapons – it receives a lot of Israeli know-how and the results of Israel’s technological advancements in defense. For example, America’s use of UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) is the result of Israeli UAV development. Israel has long been the world leader in UAV technology. Early on, the only thing soaring in America’s UAV program was its cost. The project itself, which couldn’t get off the ground, was considered an expensive failure during the Reagan administration while Israel succeeded brilliantly in that technology. Combat proven Israeli technology was operational long before the Pentagon could launch its own UAV's.

     “Former Supreme Commander of NATO and U.S. Secretary of State Gen. Alexander Haig . . . described Israel as ‘the largest US aircraft carrier, which does not require even one US soldier, cannot be sunk, is the most cost-effective and battle-tested, located in a region which is critical to vital US interests. If there would not be an Israel, the US would have to deploy real aircraft carriers, along with tens of thousands of US soldiers, which would cost tens of billions of dollars annually, dragging the US unnecessarily into local, regional and global conflicts.’
     “In short, support for Israel has been a very profitable investment for the USA.  [Emphasis mine] . . ." (Ref. 5)

     While the anti-Israel crowd may shout and holler about the amount of military aid provided to Israel by the U.S., what they won’t acknowledge is that, historically, most of this aid has flowed back into America in the form of purchases of American-made weaponry. With the new aid agreement, all of that aid money will return to America. In addition, America continues to benefit from its access to Israel’s civilian and military technologies. What these bigots also fail to mention is the trove of intelligence information that continues to be supplied to the U.S. by Israel in the joint fight against Islamic terrorism. The relationship between Israel and the U.S. has deep and beneficial roots for both nations and America’s investment in Israel continues to return very handsome dividends.

  1. U.S. AID TO ISRAEL: WHY IT'S A MUST, David Meir-Levi,, 4 October 2011.
  2. Foreign Military Sales Essential to U.S. Defense, Rep. Vicky Hartzler, National Defense, Page 20, October 2016.
  3. Friends with Benefits: Why the U.S.-Israeli Alliance Is Good for America, Michael Eisenstadt and David Pollock, The Washington Institute, 7 November 2012.
  4. Largest-ever US military aid package to go to Israel, Nicole Gaouette,, 13 September 2016.
  5. How The New U.S. Arms Deal Will Affect Israel’s Defense Industry, Sam Sokol, The Jewish Press,
    10 October 2016.


  10 November 2016 {Article 270; Undecided_51}    
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