(Note: A slightly edited version of this letter appeared in the Richmond Times-Dispatch under the title “Israel has proven a good ally” on Sept. 17, 2016)
In his letter, “Will Johnson cut aid to Israel,” (September 7) Mark Siegel misleads readers by omitting key aspects about aid to Israel. Although he briefly mentions cutting military aid packages to Egypt and Saudi Arabia, it is clear that it is Israel which his missive targets.
Siegel claims that “in these fiscally lean times at the national and local levels, the American people deserve to know if we would continue to give Israel aid to the tune of $10 million per day.” Yet, he fails to disclose that nearly 75 percent of that aid is spent in the United States—helping boost American jobs and industry.
Joint programs with Israel—designated a major non-NATO ally—have led to advanced weapons systems, which the U.S. benefits from. As a result of aid to the Jewish state, the U.S. has access to Israeli-developed technology. For example, the Iron Dome defense system—created by an Israeli company—which helped repel short-range rocket and mortar attacks during the 2014 Hamas-initiated war. In exchange for U.S. assistance with funding, Israel agreed to hand over rights to the system to American weapons manufacturers “for the defense of the United States by American forces,” as the Israeli Ambassador stated at the time.
The U.S. benefits in other significant ways that go unmentioned by Siegel who calls aid packages to Israel “repugnant,” but fails to express similar levels of concern about U.S. aid to other nations.
Other Israeli-developed technologies include unmanned aerial vehicles, decoys to confuse enemy radars, tank armor to repel fire and armored tiles to protect from improvised explosive devices (IEDs)—all of which save U.S. lives.
Noting the numerous intelligence, defense and economic benefits that the United States receives from its relationship with Israel, U.S. Secretary of State Al Haig once said, “Israel is the largest American aircraft carrier in the world that cannot be sunk, does not carry even one American soldier and is located in a critical region for American national security.”
CAMERA—Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America