During times of deficits, debt, and talks of grand bargains, military aid for Israel — about $3 billion a year — remains relatively safe, it seems.
I wouldn’t point fingers at the “Jewish Lobby,” Chuck Hagel talks about. The relevant interest group here is the U.S. military-industrial complex that pockets most of this military aid to Israel. The Associated Press has the story:
Israel is the biggest recipient of U.S. aid after Afghanistan. But unlike most other countries, Israel’s aid is earmarked for military spending. Under an agreement between the two allies, at least three-quarters of the aid must be spent with U.S. companies.
This means the “close, unshakable bond,” as Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton described it, is also a mutually beneficial one: Israel gets the latest U.S. military technology, and U.S. defense contractors — Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, Boeing and others — get a steady stream of income….
U.S. jobs are at stake, and several projects, such as the development of the advanced Arrow missile-defense system, are joint partnerships.
And this isn’t an Israel-specific story. You should think about this whenever anyone talks about foreign aid.