In a recent opinion piece in Israel’s Haaretz (March 23), author Jamie Levin notes the effect defense spending has on Israel’s “most vulnerable sectors of society.” In this endeavor, Levin points out “countrywide protests this past summer, which targeted everything from the price of cottage cheese to the lack of affordable housing … .” Social movements are rarely one dimensional, but that in itself doesn’t warrant picking one issue out, in this case the price of cottage cheese, to minimize others, i.e. affordable housing.
Worse yet, Levin bemoans America’s paltry commitment of $205 million to Israel’s short-range anti-rocket system named “Iron Dome” for fiscal year 2011. If one considers the U.S. owned and operated AN/TPY-2 X-Band radar system—which the Congressional Research Service in a March 12 publication titled “U.S. Foreign Aid to Israel” describes as the first indefinite U.S. military presence to be established on Israeli soil … deployed to a secret location in the southern Negev desert—America’s commitment is far from limited.
As a research fellow at the Harry S. Truman Institute for the Advancement of Peace at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Levin must have blinders on to not see the connection between continued occupation of the West Bank, incoming rockets, and dwindling subsidies for everything from housing to clotted cheese. It’s called a siege mentality.