We have a president who has a problem with Israel. According to a New York Times column, “Don’t Do It, Bibi,” Obama called Bibi Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, in mid-January to demand a promise that Israel would not bomb Iran in the next few months. Obama doesn’t want a spike in oil prices before our presidential election. The threat of unhappy voters is more important to Obama than a nuclear Iran. He is more concerned about his re-election than he is about a dirty bomb in the hands of a terrorist that could waste one of our cities, a destabilized Middle East, or a nuclear attack on Israel.
Obama’s indifference to Israel’s safety is a moral problem, but it is more than that. It poses a grave threat to our national security.
Israel’s blessings don’t stop with the gifts of individual Jews advancing high tech and medical care. Israeli inventiveness in those fields is of the greatest military importance to us. As a country, Israel does more than any other country in the world to keep the U.S. safe — literally. This would be part of the foreign policy equation of our White House and State Department, if they didn’t suffer from Arabism.
What has Israel done for us? The two most important areas of 21st-century warfare are electronics and cyberspace. Israel is the world leader in both those areas. Because we are mutual allies, Israel shares its knowledge and equipment with us. We would not be as far ahead in military technology, security, intelligence, or counter-terrorism without this crucial strategic alliance.
Compare the benefits of our alliance with Israel to the things we get from our allies in Europe. Europe has chosen to take advantage of us, depending on our taxpayers to protect theirs. They use us for a free ride. Britain supports us, but has no great military budget anymore. Their modern weapons systems depend on us. There is no broad two-way street.
Our alliance with Israel is not only broad and mutual, but it is essential.
Drones? Israel is the world leader in the development of unmanned aerial systems, including drones (invented by an Israeli) for intelligence collection and combat, and has shared with the U.S. military technology, doctrine, and vital experience.
Think of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. We use an Israeli-produced tactical radar system to enhance force protection. Israel is “a global pacesetter in active measures for armored vehicle protection,” which we use to save our soldiers’ lives. Israel invented the short-range rocket defense we use in both wars. Israel has shared its advanced military robotics with us. The lifesaving armor installed in thousands of MRAP armored vehicles used in Iraq and Afghanistan is known as the “Israeli bandage.” Groundbreaking innovations including sensors, unmanned aerial vehicle technology, surveillance equipment, and detection devices to seek out IEDs — all from Israel. American and Israeli companies are working together to jointly produce the world’s first combat-proven counter-rocket system.
State-of-the-art missile defense? Israel is America’s “most sophisticated and experienced partner in missile defense,” helping us from invention to deployment to joint training exercises. The U.S. has deployed an advanced X-band radar system in Israel with more than 100 American military personnel stationed there, as part of our missile defense architecture to protect U.S. forces and our allies in Europe, the Eastern Mediterranean, and the Persian Gulf.
Our Navy and Air Force? Israel provides us with a revolutionary helmet-mounted sight that is standard in nearly all frontline Air Force and Navy fighter aircraft. Israel provides us with a gun system for close-in defense of naval vessels against terrorist dinghies and small-boat swarms. Israel provides a port of call for the Sixth Fleet. Israel provides the targeting pods we use on hundreds of Air Force, Navy, and Marine strike aircraft.
Nuclear threats? It was very helpful that Israel prevented Iraq from developing nuclear capability by bombing Osirik in 1981. In 2007, Israel prevented Syria from developing nuclear capability by bombing Syria’s secret nuclear facility at al-Kibar. Washington didn’t know about the North Korean-built reactor “until Meir Dagan, then the head of the Mossad, Israel’s intelligence service, visited President George W. Bush’s national security adviser” and told us. And we’re evidently relying on Israel to stop Iran from going nuclear — a difficult and dangerous job we need done but aren’t willing to do ourselves.
The war on terror? Israel provides homeland security training for U.S. airport security and police departments across the country. They’ve worked to help us with national resilience planning to save lives and preserve national security during natural disasters and terror attacks. Israel helps us with counter-terrorism intelligence and cooperation in defeating the terrorist operations of Hamas, Hezb’allah, and al-Qaeda. We have joint Special Forces training and exercises, collaboration on shared targets, and close cooperation among the relevant U.S. and Israeli security for preventive actions and deterrence. We rely on Israeli advances to enhance our capabilities to defend our cyberspace from sabotage. Israeli advances protect our banking, communications, utilities, transportation, and internet infrastructure.
Israel is not a charity case. U.S. presidents are sworn to protect and defend America, not Israel. Sixty years of close cooperation has been maintained because it is to our benefit. It was President Eisenhower who first recognized that Israel was a key strategic asset in the Cold War, a policy Kissinger and Nixon implemented. Post-9/11, this is truer than ever with regards to the new threats facing our citizens.
The U.S.-Israeli relationship makes it easier for our military to do their job. In superficial ways, it makes it harder for the State to do their job. Our State Department is unwilling to confront Arab lies about Israel being the cause of Islamic violence. There is no actual cost to our alliance with Israel, and immeasurable benefits. Unfortunately, our State Department has few Kissingers who can see past Arab propaganda to the realities of national interest.
Israel is a highly effective ally in our fight to defend and protect America. The Israelis do more than any other country in the world to oppose the imposition of the jihadi vision. Europe is succumbing. Obama would follow. The rest of us know that our alliance with Israel helps keep us safe.