6 Reasons America Should Stop Military Aid to Israel

Stopping the pile of cash America pays to Israel every year isn’t a new idea. In fact, it comes up every few years, from both friends and foes of Israel, but surprisingly mostly from friends. There is a reason for this–actually six reasons.

I won’t try to retread all the reasons that policy experts have already covered, but I will settle on the most obvious and compelling, which is Israel doesn’t need it. The word “need” I’m defining as if the United States didn’t give Israel $3.1 (starting in 2018, $3.8) billion in military aid, known as Foreign Military Financing (FMF) each year, it would purchase everything it needs to defend the State of Israel without that cash.


Israel’s military budget is somewhere north of $16 billion ($15.9 billion in 2014), which is about 5.3 percent of its GDP (which is around $300 billion). With 8.5 million Israelis, that’s about $1,882 for each man, woman and child to pay for Israel’s existential defense. By comparison, the United States $600 billion defense budget costs us about $1,714 per capita. American FMF pays for about $365 per capita of Israel’s budget. Hence, Israel can afford to pay for itself.

No sizable change in Israel’s defense posture would result if there were no 10-year $3.8 billion in aid. The main thing that MOU provides is a sense of stability, for both American and Israeli defense companies, but mostly American. In reality, the aid is welfare for companies like Boeing, Ratheon, and Lockheed-Martin, to the tune of $1.475 billion.


The current MOU gives Israel up to $775 million to spend in Israel. The new MOU takes that back to the U.S., and adds another $700 million to the pot.

Furthermore, the last MOU, which elapses in late 2018, allowed Israel to spend a quarter of the sum on purchases from the Israeli defense industry (the rest needed to be spent in the US). According to the new deal, this arrangement will fade out in a few years, dealing a heavy blow to the local arms industry. Netanyahu initially refused to agree to this clause but eventually folded...

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