Supporting aid to Israel |

Supporting aid to Israel

Dear Editor:Criticism of U.S. aid to Israel is based on a lack of understanding of the nature of that aid and the value our country has derived from it.Let’s step back and examine America’s involvement with some of its important allies to gain perspective. For more than a half century, the U.S. has stationed several hundred thousand American troops in Germany, Japan and Korea. In contrast, American forces have never been stationed in Israel, even though Israel has faced existential threats to its survival during its tumultuous 57-year history. U.S. foreign aid to Israel is about $2.5 billion annually. More than 90 percent is categorized as “military assistance.” Importantly, most of this aid is spent in the U.S. and keeps Americans working in strategic industries. Contrast this with the more than $100 billion spent annually to maintain our forces in Europe and the Pacific. Foreign aid to Israel should be viewed as a very modest component of the U.S. defense budget. During the Cold War, U.S. covert activities attempted to penetrate the Soviet military and defense establishment. The purpose was to gather information about advanced weapons systems being developed by the Soviet Union. This cost untold billions each year. Estimates from the security agencies suggest that $350 billion a year was spent by the U.S. for espionage activities – with little to show for it. Israel’s clever military strategies provided detailed intelligence on important Soviet weapons systems such as: – The then-latest version of the MIG fighter jet (flown to Israel by a defecting Syrian pilot), and – The SAM missile site captured by the Israelis in Egypt, dismantled, and brought back to Israel for analysis. Israel periodically captured advanced Soviet military hardware from the defeated Arab armies – Soviet proxies – in a series of wars instigated by Arab aggressors. This information was invaluable to the U.S. military. When Israel captured these systems, it routinely invited the U.S. to inspect them. Consequently, American military officials were far better able to plan for the next generation of weapon systems and thereby obstruct Soviet intentions. Israel was pleased to have assisted its ally, the U.S., in what the CIA and other U.S. agencies were unable to accomplish. More recently, Israeli technology in unmanned aerial “spy” vehicles (UAVs) has been utilized in the field. This technology is used to monitor the movements of the Taliban in Afghanistan and terrorist insurgents fighting U.S. ground troops in Iraq. America also is learning from Israel how to best defend against terrorism – in training U.S. police forces in urban areas to counter terrorist threats, establishing procedures to make U.S. airlines more secure against terrorist hijackers, and developing sophisticated evasive techniques to thwart shoulder-fired missiles against commercial airliners. The bottom line is clear: If you value the strength and resolve of the U.S in countering external terrorist threats, then you must consider U.S. aid to Israel a bargain. No doubt that this is to our benefit … and it should be continued. David J. KudishChicago

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