Eretz Yisrael Time

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Friday, May 26, 2006
I previously wrote about how US non-military financial aid to Israel was to be phased out this year thanks to Bibi Netanyahu, and suddenly today I came across this initially disturbing news update which states that the United States Congress approved the transfer of USD 2.4 billion in aid money to Israel in the framework of its aid program to nations committed to democracy.

Now the YNET article doesn’t state the details (but you can expect the anti-Semites to start commenting there soon enough), but unless this falls under the scope of the existing military aid package, the only thing I see is backsliding and regression.

Luckily, I did some more research which led me here, and then to here where I learned that this bill
“provides an $83 million increase for Foreign Military Financing for Israel to assist in their security and counter-terror efforts. Total funding is $2.3 billion, the same as the President’s request. Also fully funds the President's $120 million request for economic assistance to Israel.”

Now while I also don’t approve of the continued military financing to Israel due to how it restricts us, at least we didn’t regress regarding economic aid.

I did notice the $120 million for “economic assistance”, and either that is the last payment of the economic aid package, or Bush’s last gift to Sharon for the deportations.


hashfanatic said...

Oh, no. Nothing about this is final, and Olmert is in fact about to descend upon this once-proud nation's capital and negotiate for further continuance of an even sweeter deal, in exchange for changes in levels of responsibilities in dealing with unannounced vexations that are soon to manifest themselves...

And there will be very little public discourse about this.

It's one thing to shamelessly exploit a situation for personal advancement, but quite another to actually ignore one for the same reasons.

Ephraim said...

You sugguest Israel should stop accepting American military aid. Out of curiosity, how will Israel be able to afford its enormous military without the billions in aid?

JoeSettler said...

Excellent question.

First we can improve our economy in general:
1) Israel could lower corporate and income tax levels (faster and to lower levels) and give our economy a quick kick in the pants that will shoot us forward.

2) We could demand that the military purchase only from local Israeli suppliers that will help insure that money stays in Israel and supports local industries.

Second, we could freely expand into markets we are keeping and being kept out of.

To be honest, I have a problem with selling weapons to non-democratic countries (such as China) as they may use them to enforce their will on other democratic countries or even against their own citizens.

I have the same problem that the US sells to Israel’s enemies (and non-democratic countries) such as Saudi Arabia and Egypt (yes, I am including them in the enemy category).

But Israel produces probably the best military and military upgrade equipment & services in the world, and the US constantly overrules us on all our big ticket items sales, more often because we are competing on ‘their turf’ with their industries, and occasionally with clients they feel will be a risk or have policy issues with (not that they care that we feel about Egypt or Saudi Arabia).

Third, we could easily cut our military’s size in half and not only not lose any military advantage, but we would gain from the streamlining.

Currently in its current format as a ‘people’s’ army (as opposed to a ‘professional’ army), a significant portion of the country’s youth is drafted. The army simply has nothing to do with somewhere between a third to a half of the people who aren’t in combat units.

If you visit any administrative base you will simply see tons of kids with nothing to do, or 3 people in an office doing the job of 1 person.

The waste of money simply to keep up the ‘unifying army experience’ is draining the country financially.

(Good luck on your Aliyah.)

Anonymous said...

Re joesettler's observation above about admin bases: as someone who works [and I mean works] on one, I can sadly confirm that joe's characterization is on the mark.


Rafael V. Rabinovich said...

Last week I helped organize and bring into efect a rally in Washington DC to ask Congress to DENY Olmert's request of loan guarantees for his new "Convergence" plan.

Interestingly enough, America's media largely ignored the event, the OU and other established Jewish organizations boycotted it, and only Arutz Sheva and (mind you!) the Daily Forward have bothered to write about it.

Anyhow, I don't know what difference will this whole thing make at the end of the day, but I am working on making Mr. Olmert's request fall into deaf ears.

Loans are nood good for Israel for several reasons. Particularly Olmert's request. It is the largest amount any Israeli PM has ever requested. If approved, it risks driving Israel into a civil war, and would place the State into a foreing debt it has never faced. Every Israeli taxpayer would suffer for it. Don't tell me about economic boost, quite the opposite, Israel would plunch into a crisis it hasn't seen in years.

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