Despite of the challenges Israel faces, and the gratitude Israel owes President Obama for the US military aid, non-other than Bayit yehudi Leader, Naftali Bennett is actually in favor of cutting the 40-year-old umbilical cord that still connects Israel to the American Treasury.
“Today, U.S. military aid is roughly 1 percent of Israel’s economy,” Bennett told the Jewish Press newspaper in Brooklyn. “I think, generally, we need to free ourselves from it. We have to do it responsibly, since I’m not aware of all the aspects of the budget, I don’t want to say ‘let’s just give it up,’ but our situation today is very different from what it was 20 and 30 years ago. Israel is much stronger, much wealthier, and we need to be independent.”
“The reality is that we have a big deficit. We’re going to have to cut the defense budget, which has doubled over the past decade from $8 billion to $16.4 billion a year,” Bennett said. “Contrary to what many think, some military threats have actually been reduced. Today’s Egyptian army has no offensive capability—it’s in dire straits. Syria is in no position to send forces into Israel. We can cut there.”
The debate in the United States over reducing US aid to Israel has spared a vigorous debate between the democrats and Republicans, with some arguing that any cut to the US military aid would indicate a weakening support for Israel.