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We all depend on one another as neighbors as well as nations, and Israel and the United States are no exceptions. It’s fair to ask, “Where would we be without help from allies?”
There is no doubt that American technology helped protect Israel during several significant wars. Also, there’s no question that the billions of dollars our government invests in Israel each year help keep terrorism at bay.
But that doesn’t mean Israel can’t hold its own… or that we don’t lean on Israel from time to time!
Starting Out on Their Own
Contrary to popular belief, the British, as a nation, did not wholly support Israel. British, Arabs, and Jews all fought together to free the land from the clutches of the Ottoman Empire, but the aftermath became complicated.
Different British leaders made various promises. At times, England ruled in favor of the Jews… but at other times, against them. The Balfour Declaration of 1917 established official British support of a Jewish state, as more of a matter of compromise. British rule in Mandatory Palestine also limited employment, land purchasing, and business growth for the Jews.
General hostility toward Jews, in particular, had many doubting that a Jewish state could survive. The parliament of the United Kingdom, as well as the recently formed United Nations, were divided over supporting Israel.
Ultimately, the British and the United Nations would withdraw from the region—leaving the Jews to fend for themselves.
Surrounded by enemies who were mobilizing and chomping at the bit to destroy them, the Jews had a choice: lay down and let themselves be subjected to the rule of another empire, or declare independence and claim their homeland once and for all.
They chose the second option and fought with everything they had for it.
Where Was America?
Above all else, the primary interest of the United States was to keep stability in the Middle East. Despite great sympathy and affinity for the Jewish people, America was hesitant to rush in to help. At the time, this was a tough but well-thought-out stance. There was a legitimate fear of getting the Soviets involved, which could have caused a larger, more devastating global conflict.
During the Israeli War for Independence, the United States was neutral. The U.S. imposed an embargo on all parties involved in hopes of maintaining good relations with all its trading partners in the region.
With the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, the fledgling nations were still choosing their allies, but they feared Israel above all else. The Soviets encouraged them to go after Israel and supplied them with weapons. Meanwhile, the United States hoped to win influence with trade rather than bloodshed.
Unfortunately, the enemies of Israel wanted their war—and they got it.
For the first few wars, France was Israel’s main supplier against Egypt… but their interest was purely strategic. France and England were both interested in controlling the Suez Canal, which was critical for any nation hoping to seize power in the region.
At the time, France had plenty of African colonies it was hoping to strengthen its hold over. England was hoping to regain dominance over Egypt, its former colony. Israel was hoping to trade south of the Red Sea.
While the general sentiment in America favored the recognition of a Jewish state, the U.S. was hesitant to involve itself in another war. The U.S. was on good terms with Egypt and Jordan, and did not want to lose those allies to the Soviets. That said, when Israel declared independence in 1948, the United States was the first country to formally recognize its statehood.
In 1956—England, France, and Israel invaded Egypt hoping to gain back control of the Suez Canal from the Egyptians. They were effectively blocked and sent home by the United States and the United Nations. While the U.S. was acting with the interest of peace in mind, the Egyptians wound up retaliating against Israel in wars to come.
Years later, France’s colonial empire collapsed, and the nation began to withdraw from the region. France withdrew its alliance with Israel as well, imposing an arms embargo on the entire region.
Just as France withdrew from supporting Israel, the United States began to step up and lend a hand.
Pick a Side!
The late 60s and early 70s was a period during which the nations involved in Israeli conflicts needed to pick a side once and for all. Despite every effort to tear down the Jewish state, Israel prevailed. Israel had proven itself a force to be reckoned with—not only militarily, but also economically.
Though stability in the Middle East was still a top priority, the United States recognized Israel’s efforts to work toward peace, and stood firm in its decision to support Israel. The U.S. loaned them supplies… and in return, the Israelis provided invaluable intel on Soviet technology. You can learn more about this here.
Though economic growth was slow during that period, the Israeli economy was self-sufficient enough to sustain a growing population.
When the economy reached its lowest point in the early 1980s, the Israelis pulled themselves out of the crisis. By implementing the 1985 Israel Economic Stabilization Plan, the Israelis cut excessive government spending, standardized union wages, and curbed excessive printing of money.
It was so effective that it became a model to help other nations struggling to escape economic crisis.
Five years later, Israel welcomed millions of immigrants fleeing Soviet Russia, and the economy soared to the heights we see it reaching today.
Does Israel Depend on the United States?
If the U.S. were to disappear tomorrow, chances are Israel would be terribly hurt (as one is at the loss of a close friend and ally)… but not devastated.
Can Israelis survive without U.S. support? It is very likely. They’ve proven themselves capable of handling any challenge that life throws at them, with or without the support of the United States. But that’s not to say our partnership doesn’t significantly contribute to Israel’s success and well-being.
Our support for Israel helps lift the burden of transforming a desert with agriculture, as well as protecting the country from enemies that surround the borders and infiltrate with terrorist attacks from within.
This pays off for the U.S. in more ways than just military intel. Find out more by downloading our FREE investment guide to see how your investment in Israel will reward you and your country!