Aug. 5, 2013,
Global Security Newswire,
To share in the burden of U.S. military funding cuts, Israeli officials extended an offer on Friday to waive the Middle Eastern nation’s minimum funding levels, Defense News reported.
Israel’s portion of the cut to U.S.-Israel cooperative missile defense programs would total around $55 million. If it had not been set aside, the funding protection would have prevented the nine percent sequester from affecting $607.3 million for the Israeli Iron Dome program over a three-year period.
The U.S. Defense Department said in March that it is committed to continue funding Israeli missile defense systems. Israel is set to receive an additional $65.8 million for the Arrow-2 Weapon System, $181.7 million for the Upper Tier Arrow-3 System, and $213.9 million for the David’s Sling System. The Obama administration said in April that it will request $520 million for Israeli missile defense programs over the next three years.
The $3.1 billion in foreign military financing aid that Israel receives every year is not protected from a nearly five percent sequester cut, and Israel has not sought an exemption.
From The Real News
Number six on the list of weapon exporters is Israel. Israel may be the sixth weapon exporter in the world, but it is the largest arms exporter in per capita terms. Indeed, while the U.S. has the largest military-industrial complex in the world, Israel has the largest proportion of its economy dedicated to the military-industrial complex.
A good way to estimate the size of the military-industrial complex is to compare the proportions of public expenditure on defense. According to SIPRI, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, Israel spends 8.4 percent of its GDP on defense, putting it in the third place worldwide, and almost twice as much as the U.S., which is seventh place in the world.
But SIPRI’s data doesn’t take into account the massive investment of natural resources, especially land and labor, which are used by the Israeli army, police, and prison systems without payment. Approximately half of the territory of Israel is controlled directly or indirectly by the army, and about half of the Israeli citizens serve in the army without salary for one to three years. If those facts are taken into account, it becomes clear that Israel is the world’s most militarized state.
It should be emphasized that the arms industry is built upon reciprocal purchases. Arms deals are often two-sided, meaning that when one country sells military equipment to a second country, the second country is expected to buy something from the first. This tradition intensifies the arms proliferation and creates an unnecessary stockpiling of arms by countries who are at peace.
The problem is that where the army’s outfitted with new shiny toys, generals and politicians sometimes develop the urge to try them out and go on the offensive. The arms trade is therefore a hazard to peace and to security for all residents of all countries.
Because of the massive investment of resources on security and the army, Israel suffers from high levels of poverty and crumbling social services. The current Israeli government debated the urgent need to cut military expenditures and eventually approved some minor cuts to the defense budget. But the Israeli system allows the Ministry of Defense to keep the revenue from arms sales and use them to further boost its own budget. Therefore, despite the government’s efforts, the actual budget of the Israeli Ministry of Defense is expected to grow, although the Israeli Ministry repeatedly exceeds its budget. In 2012, it spent about one and a half billion dollars more than the budget approved by the Israeli parliament, the Knesset.
The U.S. continues to give Israel military aid to the tune of $3 billion every year, with plans to expand aid to $4 billion annually. The aid ensures high profits for the U.S. arms companies. The U.S. also buys military equipment from Israel in reciprocal deals, contributing to the Israeli military-industrial complex.
More importantly, when the U.S. shows its support for Israel, it also legitimizes Israel’s use of force. Israel intensifies the violence in the Middle East and contributes to sales of the arms industry worldwide.