Beyond the Cusp

June 14, 2017

I Worry for Israel and Her Future

 

Is my fear produced because of the terrorist threats? Not at all, though that is troubling, it is not a threat that could erase Israel. Is it that Iran may have nuclear weapons in the not too distant future and have claimed they will wipe Israel from the map? No, not that either. Against Iran I have faith that Israeli intelligence will know before the Iranians launch such an attack and then it will be addressed. Should they manage to launch some missiles, the Israeli multi-layered missile interception systems will take care of those attacks and the new additions that are in development are of a nature that no missile will penetrate the Israeli shields. Is it the number of Arab nations who might combine forces again as in 1948? Again, that is not something to fear; as there are very few leaders around whom these nations would congeal and the one potential such leader is more, a friend to Israel than a threat, but that relationship is low-key and not generally shared publically. Then it must be the war predicted for the end times, the war of Gog and Magog. No, that would not concern Israel at all as Israel is not included in that war. Well, what threat have we left out, what could be all that worrying if not these threats?

 

My fear is an unprepared Israel when the United States decides that Israel is not an ally worth assisting any further and the outlays to Israel can be better spent on benefits to the American poor. This could come as quickly as an election of a new President and his Inauguration followed by a complete disengagement from Israel including dissolution of all treaties and agreements. This would include an abrupt ending of all military aid, both material and financial, and the termination of any civil or other forms of aid. We saw how easily such an event could transpire with the election and partial freezing of any friendly relations beyond that which was absolutely necessary by President Obama towards the end of his second term and the general cool relations during his entire eight years in office. Oddly enough, the loss of financial aid is not what is frightening about such a series of events. There are a number of reasons which we will demonstrate fully, but first a little bit of history and the complete obliteration of one of the most lethal myths about the Israel-America relationship.

 

The myth is that the United States has always been the number one supporter of Israel. The corollaries to this myth are equally perfidious as they make both nations look poorly by insinuation. One is Israel would be incapable of making the weapons systems, which the United States provides, on their own. There are a number of answers to this. The first is the Merkava. The Merkava IV is the current rendition of the Israel designed and manufactured main battle tank. Let’s list the top ten main battle tanks as listed by Military-Today.com. The list follows:

1) Leopard 2A7 (Germany)
2) K2 Black Panther (South Korea)
3) M1A2 SEP (Abrams successor) (United States)
4) Challenger 2 (Great Britain)
5) Armata (Russia)
6) Merkava Mk.4 (Israel)
7) Type 90 (Japan)
8) Leclerc (France)
9) Oplot-M (Ukraine)
10) T-90 (Russia)

 

Merkava Mk.4

Merkava Mk.4

 

Now let us research a little history. The United States had an arms embargo on Israel from its inception on May 15, 1948 until they agreed in 1965 to a limited sell of arms, M-48 Patton tanks, which were a main battle tank but was considered to be a medium tank weighing under fifty tons, to Israel through a 3rd party, West Germany. The United States finally lifted the arms embargo selling arms to Israel directly starting in 1969, mainly jet fighters, more Patton tanks and other ground vehicles. This began the United States arms agreements with Israel that becomes obvious in the graph below which shows United States aid to Israel from the beginning in 1948. What is significant is the reason behind this move, which was anything but altruistic. The United States arms industry at that time was largely dependent on its sales of F-15 and F-16 fighter jets that had mainly one rival, the Soviet Union. Of course, each had their basic sphere of nations that were purchasing these aircraft from the two super powers. With neither of these powers selling their aircraft to Israel and with both France and Britain deciding that their best allies in the Middle East were the oil wealthy Arab states, which meant they would have to be abandoning Israel. These left Israel with but one alternative, design and build their own jet fighter, and this was exactly what Israel proceeded to do. The Israelis had built a few prototype aircraft called the Lavi and would have been a competitor for the F-16 in particular as it was of similar design and use. This led the United States to make Israel an offer which she could not refuse. The United States would sell them F-16s and throw in a number of F-15s but Israel had to scrap the Lavi and depend on the United States for their aircraft. The United States also promised that they would assure Israel air superiority for the future. There have been a few episodes since that agreement that have left the promises increasingly suspect. Yes, currently the Israelis have little to worry about with President Trump when it comes to promised deliveries of weaponry and aid, but what about after President Trump. President Obama gave Israel a taste of a wake-up call but things could turn even worse in the future. Imagine if after President Trump actually serves two terms and then, just like after Ronald Reagan (not to claim or compare Trump with Reagan), Vice President Pence serves a single term claiming, “No more taxes,” and then is forced to raise taxes leading to a Democrat winning the Presidency as the conservatives desert the Republicans and simply stay home. The Democrats, after running Hillary again and her losing to Trump a second time, and then running their chairman, Tom Perez, against Pence and he loses. Then they move on to the current vice-chairman Keith Ellison against Pence where he defeats Pence leading to a President Keith Ellison. Look at his affiliations in the past and it becomes glaringly obvious that any relations between the United States and Israel would immediately become a thing relegated to history.

 

United States Israel Aid (Military)

United States Israel Aid (Military)

 

The graph above which depicts the United States aid to Israel, presumed largely military aid, had averaged a fairly steady three-billion dollars per year. The aid has been instrumental in providing Israel with a military advantage but has also made Israel dependent upon the United States military aid. Certain years in the graph stand out as being excessive with 1973 being the greatest surge for a single year than any other. This was the year of the Yom Kippur War which caught Israel off guard and flat-footed with most of their active military on leave to attend services and the majority of their reservists also in Synagogue. There were no people manning telephones as Yom Kippur is one of, if not the, holiest days of the Jewish year and is a fast day where people spend the entire day in Synagogue deep in prayer. In the end, the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) resorted to sending vehicles with bullhorns, sound systems and anything with which to send out the call driving up and down the streets from synagogue to synagogue calling out the troops. Units formed by officers grabbing anybody who had the correct insignia with infantry grabbing infantry, armor grabbing armor etcetera with them ending up just grabbing anybody and forming fighting units. Within a day or two, the mess sorted itself out and then the push back started and the war turned in Israel’s favor. In the result of the war the boundaries did not change and the United States and Russia demanded that Israel not advance any further and return to the previous lines from the Six Day War and not continue onward to Cairo, Alexandria or Damascus. Israel was in a particular position which called for drastic aid; they had lost too much equipment and were running short of everything from bullets to aircraft and missiles. Despite Secretary of State Kissinger’s advice to squeeze Israel and hold back on the resupply until Israel was more vulnerable, thus making Israel likely more pliable and agreeable to demands, President Nixon sent the aid as quickly as it could be gathered and flown to Israel. This posed a second problem when the European nations refused to permit the United States refueling rights for any aircraft carrying aid to Israel, especially military aid. There is a lesson in there for Israel but that can remain for the next United Nations vote to discuss. The United States finally received permission to refuel in Portugal so Lajes Field in the Azores Islands became the midpoint for the resupply runs. This was the saving grace permitting Israel to survive what would have otherwise resulted potentially in a second Shoah.

 

But what can Israel do, ask almost anybody claiming to be an expert on the Middle East and they will tell the same thing, Israel cannot survive without the United States money and military hardware. They are only partially correct. Israel needs the United States hardware for the time being but that can be remedied by Israeli inventiveness and a brief period of time. Israel has already purchased and paid for sufficient F-35 JSF Israeli versions to provide sufficient air superiority or equivalence for the near future. There was a time when Israel was considered one of the true weapon innovators in the world. They had what was considered one of the best fighting infantry rifles in the world with the Galil. The weapon in one variant had a bottle opener which could open a soda bottle, or better yet, a beer. The Israelis also designed and manufactured the world-renowned Uzi submachine gun.

 

A Galil infantry rifle and an Uzi submachine gun above with the Lavi in flight followed by the IAI Kfir below

A Galil infantry rifle and an Uzi submachine gun above with the Lavi in flight followed by the IAI Kfir below

 

So Israel has proven with her current main battle tank, the Merkava IV and her historic and proven ability to make her own weapons systems, to be fully capable. The fact the United States felt in the past that they needed to make a generous offer to prevent Israel producing her latest fighter aircraft is sufficient proof that Israel is capable of making his or her own aircraft. Israel has been producing some of the most advanced avionics which they have adapted to numerous airframes and aircraft over the years. So, with the ability for Israel to make their own weaponry, the real potential problem would be the affordability of making their own weapons and doing without the aid money given by the United States. We have established that the funds from the United States to Israel average around three-billion dollars each year. The latest aid package was negotiated by President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu coming to thirty-eight-billion dollars for the next decade. So the current aid level is three-billion-eight-hundred-thousand a year and then after another nine years the package ends and then a new one would be required or Israel, by planning ahead, could turn a new leaf and start being self-dependent. Israel could reenter the world of self-dependence and design and produce her own weaponry. The weapons such as an infantry rifle, a submachine gun, and other small arms and even artillery, self-propelled artillery which they could use the frame of a Merkava IV tank. The largest challenge is obvious, the aircraft, a fifth generation, or better, a sixth generation fighter aircraft or sixth generation fighter aircraft system which may or may not require the pilot be in the aircraft. Israel is a small enough nation that the aircraft defending the borders and close air superiority and support from within Israel using secure encoded telemetry is a feasible and actionable option. The one thing Israel has proven is the ability to innovate and be inventive. How else did Israel get to be called the Start-up Nation? But first Israel has to grow up and realize that they no longer require the defense and military aid money and can depend upon their own ability to afford weaponry without requiring outside funds. Let’s examine this possibility by examining the history of Israel GDP as depicted in the graph below.

 

Israeli GDP Billions $

Israeli GDP Billions $

 

Looking back to where the aid from the United States began in the period between 1965 through 1969 and we see that three-billion dollars a year was about equal to the Israeli GDP. Back then, it was impossible for Israel to raise such a sum of money, as it would have required its entire economy to support the military. Even in 1980 such as the aid from the United States was close to half of Israeli GDP. By the late 1990’s the aid was equal to around three percent of the Israeli GDP and would have been possible even then for Israel to have began defending itself without needing to rely on anyone else. Let us look at the reality of now and where Israel stands economically. The reality is that currently the Israeli GDP is sufficient where the military aid makes up merely one percent and would almost make up for the aid in the taxes paid by the additional workers in defense jobs, jobs which would be fairly well paying. With the military aid package from the United States being merely one percent of Israeli GDP, Israel can make a clean break on her own terms. Eventually the United States aid is going to end. It could have come close under President Obama and had Hillary Clinton won there are some who claim that she would have cut the aid at the first opportunity. Who knows, she might just get such an opportunity yet. And even if she does not, some President down the road is going to decide that the United States can no longer afford Israel and that will be that. Then Israel will have no buffer, no period of adjustment, just a clean, quick cut-off and left dangling without replacement parts for aircraft and whatever other equipment from the United States makes up her armament. Israel had just under a decade to start making the transfer and since the current agreement demands that every penny of the aid be spent in the United States, Israel could stock whatever parts she may require while proving that she can afford to make her own systems and be ready to strike out completely self-dependent into the future. That would make Israel truly capable of defending herself under any conditions or situations because she would be depending largely, nay, completely upon her own industry. That is the future Israelis deserve and the industry would provide thousands upon thousands of new and decent jobs across all levels of educations and abilities.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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2 Comments »

  1. I agree heartily agree that Israel needs to develop its own, independent weapons manufacturing capability. The loss of the Lavi devastated Israel’s fighter manufacturing capability. It will take a supreme, and necessary national effort to rebuild that capability.
    http://john-golan.blogspot.com/2016/05/lavi-engineers-perspective.html?m=1

    Like

    Comment by Brent — June 17, 2017 @ 11:29 AM | Reply

  2. Reblogged this on Oyia Brown.

    Like

    Comment by OyiaBrown — June 22, 2017 @ 8:28 AM | Reply


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