As Israel’s dependence on U.S. shrinks, so does U.S. leverage

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A man waving the flags of Israel and the United States in front of a rally in support of Palestine last week in Copley Square in Boston. (photo: Joseph Prezioso / Agence France-Presse — Getty Images)
Israel has quietly sought, and perhaps achieved, a large measure of autonomy from its half-century of reliance on the United States.

By Max Fisher | The New York Times | May 24, 2021

Once reliant on American arms transfers, Israel now produces many of its most essential weapons domestically.

Israel, a small country surrounded by adversaries and locked in conflict with the Palestinians, depends absolutely on American diplomatic and military support. By giving it, the United States safeguards Israel and wields significant leverage over its actions.

That’s the conventional wisdom, anyway. For decades, it was true: Israeli leaders and voters alike treated Washington as essential to their country’s survival.

But that dependence may be ending. While Israel still benefits greatly from American assistance, security experts and political analysts say that the country has quietly cultivated, and may have achieved, effective autonomy from the United States.

“We’re seeing much more Israeli independence,” said Vipin Narang, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology political scientist who has studied Israeli strategy.

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