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It’s American Interests, Stupid!


Recent congressional hearings about the destruction, by Israel’s air force, of a Syrian-North Korean nuclear facility has shed light on the mutually beneficial nature of U.S.-Israel relations.

The September 2007 Israeli military operation in Syria dealt a setback to the Syria/North Korea/Iran/Hizbullah axis while advancing American and Israeli interests. It bolstered U.S. deterrence, extended America’s strategic arm and provided Washington with vital information concerning Russian air defense systems, which are also employed by Iran. And it served to refute the claim that U.S.-Israel relations have been shaped by political expediency.

Former secretary of state and NATO supreme commander Gen. (ret.) Alexander Haig refers to Israel as the largest, most cost-effective combat-experienced U.S. aircraft carrier – one that does not require American personnel, cannot be sunk and is located in a region critical to U.S. national security interests.

In 1967, Israel defeated a pro-Soviet Egypt/Syria axis that intended to topple pro-U.S. conservative oil-producing Arab regimes. In 1970, Israel forced the rollback of an invasion by pro-Soviet Syria of pro-U.S. Jordan, preventing a pro-Soviet Domino Effect in the Persian Gulf.

Israel’s 1976 Entebbe rescue operation would eventually serve as an inspiration for Washington’s war on global terrorism. In 1981, Israel destroyed Iraq’s nuclear reactor, enabling the U.S. to proceed with conventional military options in its wars against Saddam Hussein in 1991 and 2003.

In 1982, Israel destroyed Syrian-operated Soviet surface-to-air missile batteries, which were considered impregnable. Israel’s battle tactics and technologies were shared with Washington, thus tilting the global balance of military and technological power in favor of the U.S.

More recently, Israel has shared with the U.S. its unique experience of combating Palestinian and Hizbullah terrorism, which is the role model for anti-U.S. Islamic terrorism. An Israel-like ally in the Persian Gulf would have spared the U.S. the need to dispatch troops to Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Iraq.

While the U.S.-Israel relationship has provided Israel with indispensable critical support, it has also enhanced America’s national and homeland security by improving U.S. intelligence-gathering; extending U.S. deployment and deterrence capabilities; providing the U.S. with breakthrough commercial and defense technologies; expanding U.S. employment, R&D (research and development) and export; and upgrading U.S. healthcare and the country’s standard of living.

Israel is a net producer, not a net consumer, of national security.

During his March 15, 2007 Congressional testimony, General Bantz Craddock, commander of U.S. European Command and NATO supreme allied commander, stated: “Israel is a critical military partner in this difficult seam of the Middle East.… Israel is the U.S.’s closest ally. It supports our interests through security cooperation and understanding of U.S. policy in the region.”

At a May 10, 2006 Senate hearing, Lieutenant General Henry Trey Obering, director of the U.S. Missile Defense Agency, testified that “the U.S. has learned much from working collaboratively with the Israelis. During Operation Iraqi Freedom, Israel’s Arrow and the U.S. Patriot missile defense systems were deployed together to provide integrated coverage.”

Israel’s battle-tested experience in countering terrorism, car bombs, improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and homicide bombing has been shared with U.S. troops on their way to Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as with U.S. homeland security agencies, thus reducing American losses and minimizing terrorism on U.S. soil.

Israeli-developed unmanned aerial vehicles have been employed by U.S. Marines in Afghanistan and Iraq, providing otherwise unattainable intelligence and preempting terrorist strikes. The Israeli-developed Lightning Pod navigation guidance system eliminated Al-Zarqawi, the arch Al-Qaeda terrorist.

Israel’s war-proven experience has been integrated, through battle tactics and hardware modifications, into both the U.S. military and the U.S. defense industry. For example, the F-16 includes more than 600 Israeli modifications, sparing the U.S. a mega-billion dollar and a multi-year R&D budget.

A number of state-of-the-art U.S. military systems have been upgraded in a similar manner, enhancing America’s national security and its defense/industrial base. In fact, Israel’s deployment and improvement of U.S. military systems is why many countries choose to buy American.

Israel, one might say, has been for the U.S. what Michael Jordan has been for Nike.

Israel constitutes an optimally productive defense laboratory, providing the U.S. with vital data, enhancing American security, saving American lives and upgrading American battle doctrines.

Commercially, Israel’s high tech industry has developed the world’s most advanced microprocessors, chips, window operating systems, voice mail, instant messaging and cellular technologies, coding and decoding devices, medical implements and pharmaceuticals. Most of these technologies and products have been integrated into U.S. industry, augmenting the wellbeing of Americans, boosting America’s competitive edge in the global market and increasing American employment.

About the Author: Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger is consultant to Israel’s Cabinet members and Israeli legislators, and lecturer in the U.S., Canada and Israel on Israel’s unique contributions to American interests, the foundations of U.S.-Israel relations, the Iranian threat, and Jewish-Arab issues.


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