After the fiscal crisis was delayed for the second time just weeks ago, leaving the fast-approaching March 1 deadline as the newest cliff/drop-off/time bomb/etc., many Jewish organizations and non-profits began to worry about the impact of legislative inaction as crippling budget cuts threaten their work in American communities and abroad. As Gil Shefler framed the reach of cuts:
A pregnant Darfuri woman at a refugee camp in Chad, a Latino senior citizen living below the poverty line in the Bronx and an elderly Jewish immigrant from the former Soviet Union living in Boston.
They may not know it, but these individuals are all beneficiaries of programs run by Jewish organizations with public money.
But how will Israeli security, which also relies on a steady flood of aid, be impacted in light of the $85 billion in cuts? The issue has come in and out of the spotlight as sequester has come and gone in the national narrative. Today, an Israeli site has a reminder for us:
The sequester’s impact on Israel is not completely clear, but a picture is emerging: if the sequester is implemented, as expected, current military aid to US for the current fiscal year will be cut by $240-260 million, depending on how the sequester is calculated. However, there is growing concern that US aid this year for Israel’s anti-missile programs will not be reduced proportionately, but will be eliminated altogether. “So far as is known at this stage, the fate of the aid for missiles is not the fate of the current military aid,” said a pro-Israeli source. “We have to hope that that won’t be the final situation.”
Israel is due to receive $211 million in US aid this year to procure more Iron Dome batteries, and $268 million for “current US-Israeli missile programs”; in other words, the Arrow anti-ballistic missile system, and David’s Sling medium-range anti-missile interceptor. If the aid packages for missile systems is eliminated, and the reduction is current military aid is added, Israel will lose almost $750 million in US military aid in the 2013 fiscal year. If the budget cut for the missile programs is proportional, Israel will lose just over $300 million in military aid.
Beyond the well-tallied impact of the sequester on the domestic front, it seems that if the steep budget cuts go through, Israel could face unprecedented hardships as a result. Since Israel’s security was made such a central issue in the 2012 American election season, it seems strange that Republican and Democrats together would let this come to pass at one of the most perilous points in Israel’s history.