Analysis: Money is not what makes the US-Israel aid deal important

“With America’s help, Israel has grown to be a powerful, modern state. I believe that we can now say that Israel has reached childhood’s end, that it has matured enough to begin approaching a state of self-reliance.”

Who said this? Benjamin Netanyahu, in an address to a joint session of the US Congress back in his first term as prime minister in 1996. What Netanyahu announced was essentially the end of American economic aid to Israel, which had been at about $1.2 billion since the Camp David Accords were signed in 1979.

Within 10 years, Israel weaned off that aid but at the same time increased the military aid it received from Washington eventually settling on approximately $3 billion annually since 2007. Continuation of that aid and the new amount Israel will receive, is currently at the heart of the drawn out aid talks between the Prime Minister’s Office and the White House.


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