Israel's defense minister continues to meet with American officials this week, discussing the pending U.S. military aid package. The Jerusalem Post's Yaakov Katz writes that the aid deal is more than about money - it shows the unbreakable bond between the two allies:
For Israel, the aid is important for three primary reasons.
First, the amount of money cannot be underestimated, as it makes up a significant percentage of Israel’s defense spending.
But even without the money, the aid is crucial for the State of Israel - the allocation of billions of dollars in aid inherently creates an American buy-in for what happens in the Jewish state.
In so doing, the country’s neighbors – particularly its enemies – thereby recognize that the US has Israel’s back.
In addition, the obligation to spend the vast majority of the money in the US creates a linkage between the IDF and US defense contractors. Israel wants to buy their hardware, and they want to sell them.
The result is that pressure on the administration to approve the sale to Israel of a new missile or aircraft, as an example, comes from three directions: Israel, its US-based supporters, and the defense companies themselves.
The roll out of Israel’s first F-35 stealth fighter jet in Texas on Wednesday – which will make Israel the first country outside the US to receive the plane – is an example of how this all works.
This interlocking connection is what ensures that Israel receives the most-advanced technology coming out of the US. While the size of the aid is important, it is actually less critical than the link that the deal creates between the IDF and the Pentagon. That, on its own, is priceless.