US civilian aid to Israel is being phased out. Military aid to Israel hovers at around two billion a year. Since 1970s, inflation and rising weapons costs have eroded that amount to insignificance. Three-quarters of the two billion are spent in the US. The US compound tax rate is 32%, presumably much higher in the defense industry where engineering costs (including taxable salaries) constitute a larger portion of the overall cost. Military aid after taxes therefore is about $1.4 bn annually.

In return for its military grants, America bans Israel from many profitable markets and deals and boosts its own arms exports. Minor aid buys America control over the strongest state in the Middle East and establishes America as regional arbiter.

America follows Jesus’ advice in the parable of the trader who, upon seeing a great pearl, sold everything and bought the pearl. America’s bribes to Israel for compliance are only euphemistically called “aid.” That Israel is the largest recipient of US aid is irrelevant. America pays for a particular benefit—control—not for improving the lives of Israelis. The Palestinians get more aid than Israel both per capita (from all sources) and relative to their GDP.

The free supply of American weapons causes systemic distortions in the Israeli army. The IDF won all its wars lean, but after 1973 it battened on high-end weapons. We don’t need them. Israel’s nuclear option deters regular Muslim armies, and fighting guerillas with ultra-modern weapons is absurd.

We despise Esau for selling his birthright for a dish of lentils. Think again. Israel sells her sovereignty to the United States at no higher a price.