On Monday, JewishPress.com published an interview with Naftali Bennett, chairman of the Jewish Home party and architect of its anticipated success in the January 22 elections. Our headline read: “Naftali Bennett: Stop US Aid, Slash Israel’s Military Budget.”
The article quoted Bennett as saying just that:
“Today, U.S. military aid is roughly 1 percent of Israel’s economy,” Bennett says. “I think, generally, we need to free ourselves from it. We have to do it responsibly, since I’m not aware of all the aspects of the budget, I don’t want to say ‘let’s just give it up,’ but our situation today is very different from what it was 20 and 30 years ago. Israel is much stronger, much wealthier, and we need to be independent.”
It was a scoop.
In the past, Bennett had made headlines with his intent to slash Israel’s defense budget. But adding to that weaning Israel off the U.S. security aid was yet another step in the right direction.
On Thursday morning, the Jerusalem Post ran a story by Gil Hoffman, titled: “Bennett doesn’t yet favor end to US aid.”
“Bayit Yehudi chairman Naftali Bennett denied reports on Wednesday that he is in favor of rejecting more than $3 billion in annual military aid from the US.”
I called up the Jewish Home campaign, spoke to Mr. Bennett, and asked him if the JPost misrepresented his view on this matter, and he confirmed that it did.
Bennett also assured me he very much wants to wean Israel off U.S. aid, but not tomorrow morning. There’s the Iranian nuclear threat and, obviously, the need to act soberly on budgetary issues.
But he said he absolutely stands behind the idea of Israel having to become independent from American military aid, and slashing the IDF budget, which has more doubled over the past decade, while the capabilities of its two main potential opposing armies—the Egyptian and Syrian—have been declining.
I attached below, the recorded segment from the interview, so you can compare it, word-for-word, to our article. I sent the same recording to Gil Hoffman, asking that he make the necessary corrections in his story.
I also asked that he link the quote to our article—as I have done above. It’s just good manners.