via Jerusalem Post.
Given the obvious problems with the aid program currently being proposed by the Obama administration, there’s little wonder that until now, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has publicly stated that if necessary, Israel is ready to wait for the next administration. Some argue that Netanyahu’s apparent newfound interest in concluding negotiations on Obama’s terms owes to his fear that this is the best offer Israel is likely to get. Both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump for various reasons, it is argued, will be less likely to offer significant increases in US military assistance.Here.
Assuming this is accurate, the question becomes whether Israel has an interest in the assistance at all.
And so we come to the F-35.
For Israel, to a significant degree, the aid package on offer is about the F-35, the US’s fifth generation fighter, otherwise known as the Joint Strike Fighter.
Last month Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman and IAF Chief of Staff Brig.-Gen Tal Kelman flew to Texas to ceremonially “take possession” of Israel’s first two F-35s. Both aircraft are set to be delivered to Israel in December.
To date, the IAF has purchased 33 F-35s – all with US aid money. The IAF wants to purchase a total of 75 F-35s, which are supposed to replace the F-16s and the F-15s that the IAF currently fields.
As Liberman made clear during his visit, whether Israel purchases them or not is entirely dependent on the aid deal.
We should not take them. We should walk away.
Wow. This whole aid package thing with Israel is becoming "game of thrones-ish".
From watching the Israeli debate it seems like a large portion of that country is willing to walk away from the table. Have things gotten that bad between our two countries? Ordinarily I'd gloat and chest thump at the idea of the F-35 losing a customer BUT we're talking about the survival of the only democracy in the Middle East.
Even worse? I'm conflicted on the issue. To demand that US weapons aid is used to purchase US weapons doesn't seem outrageous.
We live in interesting times. I'm a huge supporter of Israel but don't know who's right and wrong on this one. This is another one of those issues to keep an eye on.