Israel pushed for a larger military aid package from the U.S. after the Iran deal was signed last year, but a senior Israeli general believes the country would be better off without assistance from America.
The billions of dollars the U.S. sends to Israel each year “harms and corrupts us,” Maj. Gen. (Res.) Gershon Hacohen said in an interview with Defense News. Hacohen, former head of the Israel Defense Force’s elite war colleges, said Israel would “be far better off” if they could wean themselves off the money sent from their largest ally.
The White House announced earlier in July that under the larger aid package, Israel would be required to spend the money it receives on U.S. defense systems, the New York times reported. The exact amount of the renewed deal has not been determined, but Israel has pushed for a larger amount since the contentious deal allowed Iran to continue developing nuclear technology, which Israel condemned as dangerous for the Middle East.(RELATED: Netanyahu Slams Iran Deal: ‘What A Stunning, Historic Mistake’ [VIDEO])
Reducing dependency on U.S. aid would require strong leadership, Hacohen told Defense News in the Monday article, “but if this could be done in a calculated, well planned manner, it would restore our sovereignty, our military self-sufficiency and our industrial capacity.”
After watching the heated negotiations over the current aid deal, Hacohen believes that the alliance between the U.S. and Israel would be stronger if the two countries didn’t have to fight over money every couple of years.
“As we’ve seen from this ongoing story of the aid deal, this is not the way two true partners should behave,” Hacohen said. “There shouldn’t be all this bargaining going on. Once we are not economically dependent on them, the partnership can flourish on its own merits.”
The acting head of Israel’s National Security Council, Brig. Gen. (Res.) Jacob Nagel, will be in Washington, D.C. next week to negotiate and sign an expanded aid package for Israel, the Associated Press reports. Currently, the U.S. gives $3.1 billion to Israel every year as part of a deal that will end next year.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expects funding to remain at $3.1 billion for the next fiscal year, despite hints earlier this year that perhaps Israel would get a better deal if they waited for the next president.
“Israel places great value on the predictability and certainty of the military assistance it receives from the United States and on honoring bilateral agreements,” Netanyahu’s office said in a statement Monday.
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