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Israel’s Moment of Truth

Filed under: GeneralForeign PolicyCURRENT ISSUES — eidelberg @ 10:32 pm Edit This

[Edited transcript of The Eidelberg Report, Israel National Radio, July 17, 2006.]

I hate to use the banality, but Israel is facing its moment of truth. Threatened by sanctions and internal strife, Israel will be pressured to accept a cease fire.

Since Israel doesn’t have the economic power for a protracted war, the only way to avoid sanctions is to launch a massive ground invasion of Lebanon, which should have been done two or three days ago. No war can be won merely by bombing from the air. You cannot find and destroy most of the enemy’s rocket launchers without a ground invasion. The air force should be used primarily to support ground attacks, which alone can destroy a significant number of the enemy and his rocket launchers.

To destroy the enemy’s ground forces means to kill as many Hezbollah terrorists as possible. I repeat: since Israel can’t sustain a protracted war, it must concentrate overwhelming force in a land invasion whose goal is to utterly disarm and destroy the enemy. A cease fire will allow Hezbollah to retain its missiles, multiply and increase their range and hold all of Israel hostage. If Israel doesn’t win this war it may be its last.

Unfortunately, Israel is headed by two amateurs, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Defense Minister Amir Peretz—and they’re not only amateurs but political leftists. Another disadvantage confronting Israel is that its Chief of Staff, Gen. Dan Halutz, was Israel’s previous air force commander, and may be biased by the fallacious notion of “victory through air power.” Of course, Israel’s air force will have to launch air attacks to disable the Syrian air force and missile system.

Not only is a quick victory required before any cease fire, but also before Israel’s leftist peace camp assaults public opinion as it did in the 1982 “Operation Peace for the Galilee.” Labor leader Shimon Peres, with the help of Peace Now, transformed victory into defeat.

But today the Left dominates the Olmert government, which is less likely, therefore, to take the decisive action I am advocating. So, unless some generals have the guts to pressure Olmert to launch a full scale land invasion, I fear there will be a cease fire.

In a previous report, I discussed Israel’s dependence on U.S. military aid. Here are some basic facts:

1) Since 1985 the U.S. has provided $3 billion in grants annually to Israel. Until recently, this $3 billion consisted of $1.8 billion in military and $1.2 billion in economic aid.

2) For FY2005, the U.S. provided $2.22 billion in military and $360 million in economic aid—a total of almost $2.6 billion.

3) Admittedly, Israel also received $200 million to develop the Merkava tank, $130 million to develop the high energy laser anti-missile system, and other military projects. But the U.S. has itself benefited enormously from these grants,

Summing up, since 1990, Israel has received approximately $45 billion in U.S. military and economic aid. What has the U.S. received in return?

Some years ago Joseph Sisco, former Assistant Secretary of State, told Israeli author Shmuel Katz, “I want to assure you, Mr. Katz, that if we were not getting full value for our money, you would not get a cent from us.” American foreign policy-makers are pragmatists, not moralists. U.S. aid to Israel is animated by national self-interest—pious platitudes to the contrary notwithstanding. Israel is and has been America’s biggest strategic bargain.

1) First of all, about 85% of the money Israel receives in military aid must be spent in the U.S., where it provides jobs for an estimated 50,000 American workingmen.

2) Conversely, total exports from the 50 United States to Israel between 1991and 2005 was $95.4 billion—more than twice the $45 billion Israel received in U.S. aid during this period. The annual average of U.S. exports to Israel was $6.4 billion, more than twice the average American aid package. In 2005 the total exports to Israel from the 50 states was $18.5 billion—more than six times the U.S. military-economic aid package!

By the way: the $2.6 billion Israel received from the U.S last year amounts to less than 2% of Israel’s Gross Domestic Product—currently more than $135 billion. Israel could easily dispense with this aid if massive tax evasion were curtailed along with the notorious corruption and inefficiency of Israel’s government. But this is only the tip of iceberg of U.S. dependence on Israel.

3) According to Gen. George Keegan, a former chief of U.S. Air Force Intelligence, between 1974 and 1990, Israeli aid to America was worth between $50-80 billion in intelligence, research and development savings, Soviet weapons systems captured and transferred to the Pentagon, and testing Soviet military doctrines up to 1990, when the USSR collapsed. Senator Daniel Inouye recently put it this way: “The contribution made by Israeli intelligence to America is greater than that provided by all NATO countries combined.”

Now a few points from a report of Yoram Ettinger, a consultant on U.S.-Israel relations.

4) Every day, Israel relays to the U.S. lessons of battle and counter-terrorism, which reduce American losses in Iraq and Afghanistan, prevent attacks on U.S. soil, upgrade American weapons, and contribute to the U.S. economy. Innovative Israeli technologies boost U.S. industries.

5) The vice president of the company that produces the F16 fighter jets told Ettinger that Israel is responsible for 600 improvements in the plane’s systems, modifications estimated to be worth billions of dollars, which spared dozens of research and development years.

6) Without Israel, the U.S. would have to deploy tens of thousands of American troops in the eastern Mediterranean Basin, at a cost of billions of dollars a year.

7) In 1981, Israel bombed the Iraqi nuclear reactor, providing the U.S. with the option of engaging in conventional wars with Iraq in 1991 and 2003 and preventing a possible nuclear war and a terrible price of thousands killed.

8) In 2005, Israel provided America with the world’s most extensive experience in homeland defense and warfare against suicide bombers and car bombs. American soldiers train in IDF facilities and Israeli-made drones fly above the Sunni Triangle in Iraq, as well as in Afghanistan, providing U.S. Marines with vital intelligence which saves many American lives.

All this intelligence and technological aid Israel provides the U.S is going to go down the tubes—and American lives are going to be lost and impoverished—if the U.S. fails Israel in this Islamic war against civilization. Hezbollah leader Sheikh Nazrallah, who invoked the name of Allah, rightly said this is a conflict between Islam and Zionism—it’s either us or them. It’s a war to the death—a religious war which Israeli leaders lack the courage to assert and thus prompt Americans to face the truth about the enemy.

It’s ironic that Israel wouldn’t need U.S. military aid were it not for huge American arms sales to Saudi Arabia and Egypt. U.S. aid to Israel creates a demand for, and the purchase of, tens of billions of dollars worth of U.S. weaponry by these and other Arab states. U.S. grants to Israel—far from imposing a burden on the American tax-payer—actually enriches the American economy!

American Congressmen and corporations know this. They have a vested interest in opposing any sanctions against Israel if its government were to take a more independent and vigorous stand against its enemies. I attribute Israel’s failure to do so primarily to the intellectual poverty and timidity of Israeli prime ministers, whose policy of self-restraint and territorial retreat encourages the enemy, prolongs the bloodshed, and endangers Israel’s existence.

Israeli consulates in the U.S. should publish data showing that Israel’s contribution to the security and prosperity of the United States is no less than the United States’ contribution to the security and prosperity of Israel. It’s irresponsible for Israel’s ruling elites—Left and so-called Right—to obscure this information. By so doing they exaggerate Israel’s dependence on the U.S., diminish Jewish national pride, and make it easier for the U.S, to apply diplomatic pressure on Israel.

To conclude: If the U.S. pressures Israel into a ceasefire before Hezbollah is destroyed—that betrayal will lead to America’s ultimate demise vis-à-vis Islam. No one will support the U.S. after it has betrayed Israel. Israel must destroy Hezbollah, and will require a full-scale ground invasion of Lebanon.


It has rightly been said “there is no one to talk to”—meaning Hezbollah, Iran, Hamas and Syria. Israel can’t negotiate with these Arabs or Muslins because they are committed to Israel’s destruction. Therefore, Israel must amass as much power as possible—arms, fuel, food, and land—not merely to deter any attack but to conquer the enemy. Thus, when Israeli prime ministers say they have no “negotiating partner,” it’s sheer stupidity and cowardice on their part to retreat from such an enemy.