Israel’s Ambassador to the United States Michael Oren discussed the U.S.-Israel relationship in front of the Anti-Defamation League’s annual conference in Washington, DC.
Oren briefly discussed the benefits of the U.S.-Israel strategic partnership:
The United States gives Israel $3 billion a year in military aid—aid for which we are profoundly grateful. Seventy five percent of that aid is spent in this country, and provides tens of thousands of American jobs. ... What do you get in return for that aid? What is America buying?
First of all, it buys an ally that has an army that is significantly bigger than the British and the French armies combined, that is located at the crossroads of the most strategically important areas of world ... It provides for intelligence sharing of the most intimate and crucial nature for American security—there’s no substitute for our intelligence relationship. It provides weapons development—again at the most sophisticated level—the United States and Israel together are developing anti-ballistic systems ... the lowest level of which designed to take out low flying missiles, the Iron Dome system, recently proved to be the first anti-ballistic system to be effective in combat—it took down dozens of rockets fired at our southern cities from Gaza. We also have the David’s Sling, the Arrow 2, Arrow 3 systems—all developing these together with the Untied States. We have protection for American troops in neutralizing improvised explosive devices—IED’s ... We have devised technology that can take out incoming anti-tank rockets. We’ve developed drone aircraft the patrol the skies above American troops ... All of this Israel does together with the United States. ...
Israel is not only helping America on the battlefield in offensive ways. Israel is helping American troops in saving limbs and saving lives. ... There’s a little kibbutz in northern Israel ... that came up with this ingenious idea of a do-it-yourself armoring kit. This kibbutz has now armored 20,000 American vehicles in Iraq in Afghanistan. And at the embassy, I get the thank you notes…
A start-up company in Jerusalem developed a high tech bandage that provides pressure from the inside and stops bleeding very fast. And one of these bandages was in the medical kit of the SWAT team in Tucson, AZ that horrible day when Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was shot ... that bandage saved her life. Israel has provided 1 million of these bandages to American fighting forces.
After discussing the strategic relationship, Oren spoke about the current state of the relationship, including the effort to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran:
Does this mean we agree on everything all the time? Guess what, we don’t. Neither did any two allies in history. ... We’ve had disagreements particularly about tactical elements of the peace process—and I stress tactical ... but even those differences today are virtually nonexistent. We’ve never had a disagreement on the strategy—the strategic ends of the peace process—which is the creation of two states for two people, living side by side. A Jewish state which is the nation state of the Jewish people called Israel, and a Palestinian state which is the nation state of the Palestinian people, living side by side in mutual security, mutual recognition, and peace.
On the Iranian issue, we have an intimate and ongoing discussion on Iran. And we are committed together to preventing Iran from acquiring military nuclear capabilities. We deeply appreciate President Obama’s recent commitment, stated at the AIPAC conference, where he ... not only reiterated his determination to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weaponry, but said that he had a military option as one of the options, that containment was not an option, that Israel has a right to defend itself against any threat in the Middle East. That Israel always—as a sovereign nation—can best decide how to defend its citizens.
What an extraordinary relationship. ... Israel will remain not just America’s ally, but Israel will remain America’s ultimate ally.
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