By Yoram Ettinger
The U.S. does not give foreign aid to Israel — the U.S. makes an annual investment in Israel, one that provides the American taxpayer a return on investment of several hundred percent.
While Israel is a grateful recipient of several hundred U.S. military systems, it also serves as a battle-tested, cost-effective laboratory for the U.S. defense and aerospace industries. Moreover, the Israel Defense Forces serve as a laboratory for the U.S. military.
By serving as such a laboratory, Israel enhances the economy, national security and homeland security of the United States.
For example, the Israeli Air Force flies the U.S. company Lockheed-Martin’s F-16 and F-35 combat aircraft. This provides both Lockheed-Martin and the U.S. Air Force with invaluable information on operations, maintenance and repairs. This information is then used to manufacture a multitude of upgrades for next-generation aircraft.
The F-16 itself has been improved by several hundred Israeli-driven upgrades, including to the cockpit, fire control, wings and fuel tanks. This has spared Lockheed-Martin 10-20 years of research and development. It also enhances the company’s global competitiveness, increases its multi-billion-dollar exports and expands its employment base.
Indeed, Israel is the Triple-A store for Lockheed-Martin, Boeing, Raytheon, G.D., Northrop Grumman, L3Harris Technologies, G.E., Oshkosh, Honeywell and many other U.S. defense and aerospace companies. This enhances the image of these companies abroad and multiplies their export markets because other countries assume that if Israel uses these companies’ products, they must be of high quality.
Furthermore, Israel shares its battle tactics with the U.S. Since the two countries face mutual threats from conventional forces and terrorists, this is of great importance. Indeed, many U.S. battle tactics have been formulated based on Israeli combat experience.
These benefits extend to the realm of intelligence. According to a former head of U.S. Air Force Intelligence, Gen. George Keegan, the U.S. would have to establish five CIAs to procure the intelligence provided by Israel. The annual budget of the CIA is around $15 billion.
Israel is a unique force multiplier for the United States, helping to extend America’s strategic reach, so it can secure vulnerable pro-U.S. Arab oil-producing regimes and deter conventional wars and terrorism. With Israel’s help, the United States can do this without the deployment of U.S. troops.
Israel is also an asset to the U.S. tech sector. More than 200 top American high-tech companies have established research and development centers in Israel. They use Israel’s brainpower to increase U.S. production and expand U.S. exports and employment. U.S. commercial industries have realized that Israel is a critical partner in sustaining their edge over China, Russia, Europe and Japan in the development and manufacture of game-changing technologies.
The U.S.-Israel strategic relationship constitutes a classic case of a mutually beneficial two-way street, one that enhances the economies and defense of both countries and benefits Israeli and American taxpayers alike.
Yoram Ettinger is a former ambassador and head of Second Thought: A U.S.-Israel Initiative. This article was originally published by The Ettinger Report. Via JNS.org.