We often hear of the massive American foreign aid to Israel, $38 billion over 10 years. We do not often hear of Israeli foreign aid to the United States. For reasons that will become clear, we cannot put a precise number on this, but we can put something more valuable on it: American soldiers’ lives saved.
Fearsome anti-tank weapons — capable of penetrating three feet of solid armor! — have proliferated in the Middle East. These weapons have been manufactured by the US, Bulgaria, China, France, Iran and Russia, according to the Wall Street Journal. They are called antitank guided missiles (ATGMs). The problem for the US is twofold:
First, the US has supplied these ATGMs to rebels fighting the Assad regime in Syria, which means that some of them likely are now in the hands of the Assad regime. In fact, President Trump cancelled the delivery of these weapons to Syrian rebels precisely on the grounds that they could fall into the hands of enemies of the US.
But it is not just the US that has sent these ATGMs to proxies in the Middle East. So have Russia and Iran, which means that ATGMs are definitely in the hands of enemies of the US — non-state actors such as ISIS, the Taliban, Hezbollah and others. US-manned tanks are in peril. US-manned tanks are in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan and other places. Which brings us to the second problem: the US has devised no defense against these weapons. An army program to develop technology capable of countering ATGMs was halted in 2009.
There is one country that has devised a defense against ATGMs: Israel. There is one country that has shared this technology with the US: Israel.
The Israeli anti-antitank guided missile is just that: technology. Israel’s anti-ATGMs are guided by computer systems. The Israeli technology outperforms the computers that operate the ATGMs. The Israeli system detects the incoming antitank missile and destroys it midflight. The Wall Street Journal quotes Col. Glenn Dean, project manger for the Army’s Stryker Brigade Combat Team:
“The Israelis have an environment where they have an immediate threat that has been driving their development. Most of the time that we were in Iraq and Afghanistan, we weren’t too concerned about antitank guided missiles.” With Iran arming Hezbollah in Lebanon to Israel’s north, with Iran itself trying to gain a foothold in Syria, with Iraq in a technical state of war with Israel and Hamas in an active state of war with Israel, Israel cannot afford to be “not too concerned.” So it developed technology to counter the powerful antitank guided missile.
The US did not develop this anti-ATGM technology because it was too expensive for the US to do so.
Israel saved the US the expense.
That is Israel’s foreign aid to the US: the expense of the anti-ATGM technology.
Not to mention, the shared Israeli technology saves lives of American Army soldiers who man the American tanks, otherwise vulnerable to antitank guided missiles.