“May God make us dependent not on the alms or loans of others, but rather on God’s full, open and generous hand, so that we may never be humiliated or put to shame” Birkat ha-mazon.

American aid to Israel is easy to trace. The embargo on arms shipments to Israel during her War of Independence gave way to the first grant of $135 million after the 1948 war to pull Israel away from the USSR. Israel first bought arms from America in 1962, and the purchased amounts were trivial, about $270 million total from 1949 until 1970 on credit, and some cash purchases. From 1971–73, Israeli purchases increased, and included military loans of about $1 billion, which Israel fully repaid. Significant aid started only from 1974, after the last major war. The increase in military cooperation was no charity, as America lured Israel away from France, thus making a nice geopolitical acquisition. The American military-industrial complex got a well-paying customer. American taxpayers were initially unconcerned: Israel received no grants until 1985, but paid for her purchases. Israel spends almost all aid on US imports. More significantly, America balances military aid to Israel with aid to Arabs, and Israel derives no relative benefit from the aid. American arms sales to Israel provoked the Soviets to offer free supplies to Arabs, who often received aid from both sides. Arabs received about three times more aid than Israel; that further tilted the balance of aid away from Israel. Soviet weapons shipments to Arabs were much greater than meager American deliveries to Israel; in the late 1980s, Arab and African regimes owed the USSR more than $100 billion. Demographically strained Egypt, despite its modest oil reserves, would not have been able to buy weapons if not for the American aid. Compare Egypt to oil-rich Iran and Iraq, who cannot afford even Russian weapons. America has aided Jordan and Egypt since at least 1957, and also supports the Palestinians, and so essentially finances anti-Israeli terrorism. If aid to Israel makes no sense to American taxpayers, how is it that aid to Egypt, Jordan, and Palestine does?

A totally irrelevant war in Iraq cost America hundreds of billions of dollars, and indirect costs are estimated to bring it to a trillion dollars. Compared to that, a mere $2 billion annually buys America the allegiance of the Middle East’s strongest military power.

We deprecate Esau for having sold his birthright for a handful of lentils, yet Israel sells her birthright, her independence, her right and power to decide, for a meager $2–3 billion a year in aid. Aid to Israel is a great bargain for America, cheaply positioning it as the Middle East’s arbiter. Instead, Israel should abandon the aid and profitably position herself as the military arbiter of intra-Arab conflicts.