Did you hear what Obama is offering?
F-35 Stealth Bombers.
And why do we need them?
Are you serious?
I’m entirely serious. Why do we need the American jets?
Have you forgotten that Israel is under an existential threat, that our neighbors seek to destroy us?
And what is the greatest threat?
Iran, of course.
And why haven’t we bombed Iran’s nuclear facilities with the American jets that we already have?
What do you think, that Israel can do whatever it wants? We have international pressure. Luckily, the Americans still stand by our side.
And what will they do if we bomb?
They will stop selling us spare parts for the planes.
They will stop selling spare parts for the planes that they have already supplied?
Yes. That is what the experts say. We have not bombed Iran because if we do, the Americans will not sell us the spare parts for their fighter jets.
So you are saying that we cannot defend ourselves against the greatest threat against us because we have American jets.
And now you want us to add more American jets to our military hangars so that we will have even less room to maneuver in dealing with the most serious existential threat that we face.
Just a minute. Are you proposing that we throw all the American jets in the garbage?
The sooner the better. There is nothing as detrimental to Israel’s security as American weapons. I think that the little exercise that we just did explains that clearly.
And how will you fight, with sticks and stones?
Until 1967, Israel did not have American weapons. In the War of Independence, the Sinai War and the War of Miracles that is called the Six-Day War, Israel achieved a far more convincing result without them than in all the battles that followed – when we were already equipped with American weapons.
Today Israel bases its military capabilities on American military hardware, and we cannot eliminate that in one day. But Israel can develop and produce the most advanced weapons in the world. We have already proven our capabilities. We must enter an accelerated process of production of Israeli weapons systems – including fighter jets. Why do you think the Americans are not willing to allow Israel to equip the F-35s with Israeli systems? They know that Israeli avionics are better than what they have to offer, and they wish to stop local development. They want to make sure that we do not do exactly what we need to do. They want to both protect their own weapons industry from competition and maintain Israel’s complete dependence on them.
Israel can produce a platform for a stealth bomber, together with the aeronautics industries of other nations that are eager for this type of partnership. Alternately, Israel can produce the platform itself, as it did with the Lavi project. What is certain is that the F-35 deal is leading us in the opposite direction: More dependence on American weapons is another obstacle in the face of Israeli weapons production, and most important of all another obstacle in the face of our ability to defend ourselves from the most serious existential threats that we face.