Is Israel penniless and defenseless without U.S. aid?
In 2012, Gabi Ashkenazi, Chief of Staff of the Israel Defense Forces, declared during a conference that the American tax-payers have contributed more to the Israeli budget dedicated to Defense than Israeli tax-payers, and that “[Israel] must preserve ties with the United States. I believe this is a security necessity,”.
In fact, a memorandum of understanding, or bilateral agreement) between the two countries guarantees, since 2008, $3 billion allocated from the U.S. government to Israel’s Defense budget during 10 years. Is Israel penniless and defenseless without U.S. aid?
We will try to answer that question by first analyzing Gabi Ashkenazi’s quote and then weigh the economical resources that are provided to Israel, and also if this aid only stops with those $3 billion or if there is another kind of help provided from the United States.
First of all, it is necessary for us to have a closer look at the statement of Gabi Ashkenazi. Given the fact that the usual budget allocated to Israel’s Defense is $15 billion dollars, and that the United States grants it $3 billion yearly, it is difficult to think that the allowance coming from America overpowers the part that is being paid by Israel citizens.
In reality, according to Shmuel Even from the National Security Studies in Israel, 70 percent of the funds allocated to National Defense is coming from Israel’s taxpayers, 21 percent are from the American aid and the remaining 9 percent from Ministry of Defense’s own income. After having reviewed Ashkenazi’s speech, Even further added “I don’t know why. [Gabi Ashkenazi] also said that the U.S. military aid is $3B. So he knows the numbers.”
Furthermore, this governmental help also grants Israel the right to purchase weapon and equipment thanks to the US Foreign Military Funding, and in 2010, both countries agreed on the purchase of 19 F-35s (fighter aircrafts), costing $2.75 billion which can be paid using the FMF funds. In addition, Israel can purchase up to 75 more F-35s at a cost of $15.2 billion.
Thus, we can conclude that, without American aid, Israel would not be penniless as about 80% of its Defense budget is guaranteed by Israeli funds, but the end of the U.S aid could damage Israel’s purchase of war equipment and make it more vulnerable in terms of provision of equipment.
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