Maybe something good can come out of the financial crisis that has ravaged stock markets everywhere. According to Aluf Benn the crisis “will force Israel to give up some of the aid it receives from the United States.” Benn suggest that in order to “prevent embarrassment and pressure, Israel would do well to initiate an aid reduction itself.” A reduction is only a step in the right direction. But Benn is wrong in characterizing such a move as a punishment for Israel. As I have said more than once, this aid is harming, much more than it is actually aiding, Israel.
Other than the seemingly valid justifications of American aid (economic assistance and US commitment to Israel and the IDF), Benn is of the opinion that “it is important for Israel to be at the top of the chart of recipients of American aid” as “a component of Israeli deterrence.” Absolutely not. In order for Israel to build up its deterrence effectively it needs to develop its own military industry, stop relying on this American crutch and eliminate any international perception of Israel as an American puppet.
Yes, “Israel’s critics in the United States argue that the military aid distorts the allocation of resources,” favoring “the most aggressive army in the Middle East…and indirectly deepening the Muslim world’s hatred of America.” Why contribute to their arsenal of lies, especially when we would be better off being truly independent? While making no judgment about American financial priorities, the aid does distort the allocation of resources – in Israel. It allows the Israel to be financially negligent and maintain a wasteful defense budget.
Benn adds that “there will also be an incentive to become more efficient.” I don’t understand. Why does one need an incentive to become efficient? American aid is a disincentive to become efficient, however, and the Israeli public sector is already much too wasteful. Providing an additional incentive to be inefficient is just not smart.
Saying that as a result of a reduction, or even an end, to American aid, the “IDF will need to pull long-term projects and put off equipping new planes and ships” is a misrepresentation of the big picture. While that might be the case in the short-term, in the long run the Israeli security forces will be much better off. We will be doing the research and development ourselves, promoting the domestic defense industry and the economy overall, we will be supplying ourselves, ending Israel’s reliance on the capriciousness of the U.S. Government.