Across Israel, Meir Panim responds to the growing needs of the country’s 1.75 million impoverished residents through various food and social service programs.
Ask the average Jew on the street and he’ll tell you: Israel needs America in order to survive. Indeed, this view is so entrenched in the Jewish community that few dare question it. Just as a baby needs his mother and an injured person needs his crutches, it seems obvious to many that Israel needs America.
But is this widely-held view true? What would happen if, as a result of Israel’s refusal to acquiesce in American demands for a Palestinian state and West Bank settlement freeze, America terminated its special relationship with Israel and cut off all monetary aid?
To be sure, this scenario is highly unlikely as America would be loath to end its friendship with the only democracy, and the most powerful country, in the Middle East. In addition to being America’s sole dependable ally in the region, Israel also provides the U.S. with vital and reliable intelligence information as well as the expertise of its advanced technology sector, among other benefits.
Supposing, however, America disregarded these concerns and “dropped” Israel – what would happen then?
Let’s review the facts: America provides approximately three billion dollars to Israel annually while Israeli government revenues amount to roughly 60 billion dollars. In other words, American aid to Israel represents five percent of its revenue. That’s it – just five percent. Why most Jews assume Israel would collapse with a five percent loss in revenue is beyond me.
Next fact: Believe it or not, Israel actually survived its first 25 years of independence and won its two greatest wars – the War of Independence and Six-Day War – without America’s help. Israel only started receiving significant American funding after the Yom Kippur War. If a fledgling Israel survived from 1948-1973 without American aid, it can surely do so in 2009 with a military that ranks among the world’s best.
Next fact: Contrary to what some people assume, countries can and do survive without American aid, or even friendship. Iran carries on. So does North Korea. It’s hard to imagine that the Jewish state – home to a people that has won 25 percent of all Nobel Prizes ever awarded – could not survive without America’s assistance.
Even if one argues that Israel requires powerful allies in these dangerous times, America is not the only formidable global player. China is an emerging military world power, India contains one of the fastest growing economies, and Russia still retains some of its Cold War prowess.
Alliances with China, India, and Russia would arguably be just as advantageous, if not more so, to Israel’s strategic needs as its alliance with America. (Incidentally, the very possibility of Israeli cooperation with countries like China and Russia would worry America sufficiently enough to cause it to think twice before cutting its ties with Israel.)
To be sure, China and Russia are not the “nicest” or most enlightened countries, but allies needn’t be best friends; history records more than one instance where strange bedfellows found common cause.
For example, in 1948, as Israel fought for its survival, the state that came to its aid and helped it prevail over attacking Arab armies was the Soviet Union under the leadership of that great humanitarian Joseph Stalin. Yes, for reasons of his own, Stalin allowed Israel to purchase vital weaponry from Czechoslovakia, which was a Soviet satellite state. Many years later Yitzhak Rabin said, “Without the arms from Czechoslovakia … it is very doubtful whether we would have been able to conduct the war.”
Last fact: As anyone who takes the Bible seriously knows, the fates of peoples and countries do not ultimately rest on political realities alone. Rather they rest on God Himself, who rewards countries that do his will and punishes those that don’t. Countries may place much stock in alliances, but God has a master plan of His own and it behooves people – especially the nation of Israel – to keep this basic religious concept in mind.
I love America. I love American ideals, I love American history. But if America demands that Israel relinquish biblical territory, refrain from responding to the murder of its citizens, or cease building in the West Bank, Israel’s reply should be “No.” And if aid is thereby cut off (unlikely but possible), so be it. Protecting its people and borders is Israel’s moral obligation. Maintaining close relations with America is not.
Israel will not collapse without America as an ally. It can survive on its own or form alliances with other countries. But at the end of the day people must realize Israel’s best ally is not America, nor potentially China, India, or Russia. It is the God of Israel, the God who directs the affairs of men – and it would do Israel well to satisfy Him first.
About the Author: Elliot Resnick is a Jewish Press staff reporter and holds a Masters degree from Yeshiva University’s Bernard Revel School of Jewish Studies.
If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.
Comments are closed.
The answer is an emphatic no.
The meaning of “God’s watch” here is not entirely clear.
Don’t Israelis and Arab Palestinians deserve more than this? Is it not time to stop the insanity?
At age 104, my mother was still concerned about her relationship with Hashem.
Obama’s incompetence, the way his naive worldview and credulity have made a fool of him, are equally frightening
“The only difference between this world and the time of Meshiach is our bondage to the gentile kingdoms.”
You’ve discovered our little secret!
Klein’s challenger has demonstrated a propensity to unleash poisonous vitriol, even to other Zionists
President Obama’s foreign policy is based on fantasy.
Welcome the book of Leviticus!
If the nationalist Knesset members don’t provide the answer, the Arab MKs will do so in their place.
International Agunah Day falls annually on Ta’anis Esther, this year on March 13.
Yeshiva University Museum recently hosted an exhibit titled “Threshold to the Sacred.”
Even a foxhole Yid has to admit that antisemitism is on the upswing.
Halpert doesn’t know why he was fired, and YU apparently won’t explain
There’s also the issue of accusing the Jews of being excessively materialistic and exploitative of non-Jews. You see a lot of that in far-left propaganda – that the Jews are overwhelmingly concentrated in the petty bourgeoisie, which in itself is an archaic class form, and thrives on tricking people and squeezing money out of them through illicit methods of trade.
Recently dubbed “the greatest living figure of chassidic music” by NPR, Shenker still composes several new pieces every year. He is currently recording an album of some of his Haggadah compositions, which he hopes will be out before Pesach.
Schanzer, who holds a doctorate from King’s College London, is currently vice president of research at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and has testified before Congress on Middle East affairs on several occasions.
We want to hire couples who are going to reach out to singles to become their spiritual leaders and introduce them to someone of the opposite gender because there’s a lot of casual relationships but not nearly enough serious dating going on. This generation – even if they had rebbeim in yeshiva or seminary – they’re not connected anymore. There isn’t really anyone looking out for them at this point.
The 100 divrei Torah in this book originally appeared online and were distributed via e-mail. Unsurprisingly, therefore, many of them address contemporary issues. For example, on Parshat Mishpatim (and elsewhere), Rabbi Angel berates Israel’s chief rabbis and others for making life increasingly difficult for would-be converts to Judaism. On Parshat Vayigash, Rabbi Angel scolds 40 Israeli rabbis who signed a proclation prohibiting Jews from selling land in Israel to non-Jews.
All these polls asked either “Do you agree that Israel is conducting a war of extermination against the Palestinians?” or, alternatively, “Do you agree Israel behaves toward the Palestinians like the Nazis do?”
For his latest book, City College’s William Helmreich walked 120,960 blocks – in other words, nearly every block of New York’s five boroughs.
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/does-israel-need-america/2009/10/14/
Scan this QR code to visit this page online:
No related posts.