Harm to Israelis
U.S. military aid harms Israelis.
- Israel’s occupation—sustained by U.S. military aid—is a massive burden to Israeli society.
- U.S. military aid sustains Israeli military spending to the detriment of social service needs and educational needs.
- U.S. military aid sustains a militarist culture that undermines democratic and moral values.
- U.S. military aid to Israel impairs Israel’s long- term economic development.
- U.S. military aid assists Israel’s pro-war minority in dominating policy decisions.
“The settlement in the territories…has an economic angle.” writes Nehemiah Shtrasler in an illuminating article in the October 7, 2011 issue of the Israeli daily Haaretz. “That is because the massive and expensive construction there comes precisely at the expense of the Negev and Galilee. The construction of the settlements, the expensive infrastructures in the mountains, paving the roads, giving the settlers houses that are half free, the huge security expenses, the reductions in taxes for settlers and investors, the granting of excessive rights for education, the double budgets for the local authorities – all these tens of billions have come at the expense of the residents of Israel’s outlying regions and at the expense of budgets for education, welfare and infrastructures within the Green Line.” 
A July, 2010 report by Dr. Shlomo Swirsky titled “The Burden of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict” analyses in greater depth the extent of the economic, social, military, political and diplomatic burden of the conflict on Israel.
According to Swirski, the prolonged conflict with the Palestinians undermines sustainable economic growth, burdens the budget, limits social development, absorbs most of the energies of the political leadership, calls into question the legitimacy of the actions of the Israeli Defense Force, and isolates Israel internationally.
Click here to read the full report . Some major points:
- Double threat instead of one – the cost of the occupation in addition to the effects of the international economic crisis
- Low relative credit rating – much lower than most developed countries
- Budgets go for guns and not butter – causing dramatic cuts in social services
Baruch Kimmerling, an eminent Israeli sociologist and author of an in-depth analysis on Israeli militarism, observes that, in Israel, “the society and the state [are] subordinate to the military and national security considerations.”  Israel’s growing poverty problem is one important, even dangerous, manifestation of the neglect of Israel’s societal needs, as public monies are directed to militarization at the expense of the social welfare of its citizens. Israel’s National Insurance Institute’s Annual Poverty Report for 2009 reports a sharp increase in the number of Israeli families joining “the poverty cycle.”  Esther Dominissini, Director General of the National Insurance Institute, warns that “it’s impossible to fight poverty without making a list of priorities.”  For decades, the Israeli government has placed militarization at the head of its list of priorities, funding perpetual occupation at the expense of the common good, and disadvantaging its own people in the process.
A July 2010 Haaretz editorial  explains:
“Despite remarks to the contrary by Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz, the budget channels considerable sums from social services to the military. The fact is that cuts in social services will deepen from 2 to 3 percent over the next two years, money that will go toward a defense budget set to grow by several billion shekels.”
An earlier Haaretz article  details the impact of Israel’s reliance on “guns over butter”:
“The Education Ministry budget was cropped between 2001 and 2009 by approximately NIS 4.8 billion, according to ministry figures released yesterday. Sources in the ministry said that this series of cuts had hit all areas of its activities: Some 250,000 teaching hours have been lost in elementary, junior and senior high schools, funding has been reduced for various educational programs by 50 percent or more, and about NIS 820 million has been slashed from the funds transferred to the local authorities for education.
Over the past nine years, funding to the ministry department providing services to poor students has been reduced by about 62 percent, and budgeting for youth programs by 57 percent. The budget of the department funding science and technology equipment has been trimmed by about 44 percent.”
Jewish Voice for Peace  in the U.S. observes:
“In addition to the devastation it visits on Palestinians, the occupation threatens the democratic values Israel seeks to uphold. Massive military aid promotes militarism, which has led to a reliance on military, rather than diplomatic means to work for a solution to this ongoing conflict. More and more Israelis question the moral decay that accompanies the criminal actions of the military and the dehumanization of the Palestinian people.”
“In short, Israel cannot build a society based on the principles of democracy, human rights, and compliance with international law while brutally occupying another people and their land. The United States is currently paying for that occupation with its annual aid.”
Their concerns are echoed by Israeli activist Rela Mazali of New Profile :
“What to do when the country I live in totally loses its compass? Totally loses its shame? What to do when the regime that collects my taxes uses them to deploy its high-tech military, armed to the teeth, against activists sailing to oppose a criminal siege [of Gaza]? When this country’s politicians authorize soldiers to shoot-to-kill into a deck-bound crowd? And then tell me they are protecting me? What to do when the governments of the world are too deeply implicated to hold this regime, this country accountable?
I have watched government after government in Israel present itself as a respectable, normal member of the club of developed countries; open, democratic, cultured and liberal. Israel recently launched a major “re-branding” campaign, emphasizing diversity, richness, creativeness, to divert attention away from its warring belligerence. Israel’s leaders are deeply committed to keeping up their positive self-image.
I have noted the special privileges granted time and again on the pretext of this image. The US awards Israel billions every year for “defense” in the form of planes, missiles, guns and ammunition…”
An article in the Middle East Quarterly posits this important observation: 
“Arnon Gafny, who served as governor of the Bank of Israel in 1976-1981, points out that foreign aid has caused Israel to suffer from what economists call the “Dutch Disease,” a generous but temporary gift (such as oil or external aid) that brings short-term benefits but impairs a country’s long-term competitiveness.”
“It is very difficult to prove that a rich country’s bestowing bilateral aid on a poorer one actually helps the poorer economy. Sohar [Ezra Sohar ] – notes that the lions’ share of U.S. aid to Israel in the 1970s consisted of loans to purchase military equipment. “The end result should have been known from the start,” says Sohar. “There is logic in borrowing to build a factory with the anticipation of repaying the loan out of profits. But in the case of armaments, it is obvious that there cannot be any profits.”
Moshe Zimmermann, author and professor of German history at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem analyzes attitudes about war and peace in various sectors of Israeli society :
“Of course, the majority of Israelis want to live in peace, enjoy life, be prosperous, have a good time, watch the World Cup, and so on. But there is a minority in this society that is interested in opposing peace.”
Zimmerman identifies two minority groups in Israel that have succeeded in “holding the majority hostage” with their anti-compromise, anti-peace agenda. On the one hand, the Israeli military whips up fear among the public so as to guarantee its special status in Israeli society. On the other hand, radical settlers oppose any settlement that would require them to give up their West Bank settlements.”
 Shtrasler, Nehemia. “The settler leader who led Israelis to disaster,” Haaretz, October 7, 2011.
 Swirsky, Schlomo. “The Burden of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict,” Adva Center, Tel Aviv, Israel, July 10, 2010.
 Kimmerling, Baruch. “Patterns of militarism in Israel,” European Journal of Sociology 34:0202, 196-223, Cambridge University Press, November, 1993.
 Eglash, Ruth. “123,000 fall below poverty line in Israel in 2009,” Jerusalem Post, November 8, 2010.
 Weiler-Polak, Dana. “Report reveals poverty is on the rise in Israel,” Haaretz, November 8, 2010.
 Haaretz, “A poor budget,” July 7, 2010.
 Haaretz, “Budget cuts drag Israel closer to the bottom,” June 5, 2010.
 Mazali, Rela. “A Call for Livable Futures,” New Profile.
 Mainerman, Joel. “End American aid to Israel? Yes it does harm,” Middle East Quarterly, September, 1995.
 Quantara, Review of Moishe Zimmerman’s “The Israeli Dilemma,” Web, 2010.