The Rittenhouse Review

A Philadelphia Journal of Politics, Finance, Ethics, and Culture

Sunday, April 28, 2002  


"In apparent defiance of the White House, House Majority Whip Tom DeLay (R-Texas) says he supports sending an additional $200 million in military aid to Israel," reports Eli Kintisch in the April 26 issue of the Forward.

The funds were originally part of the State Department's emergency 2002 supplemental spending bill, but were cut before the Bush administration's formal submission in March.

" 'Obviously the economy of Israel is under siege,' DeLay, a Texas Republican, said. 'And we need to help them get the terrorists -- and that takes more money.' " Strange, we think, to find a Republican so eager to funnel American funds to one of the most socialist of the world's economies, but that's a topic for another day.

The administration's position is unclear. Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage told the House Subcommittee on Foreign Operations Appropriations that the administration would not oppose additional funds for Israel. Later, however, officials from the State Department and the Office of Management and Budget said the administration was holding fast to its current proposal, which excludes the $200 million.

Israel is already the recipient of $2.7 billion of U.S. funds this year, of which roughly $2 billion is military aid, according to the Forward's account.

The paper quotes Mark Regev, spokesman for the Israeli Embassy in Washington: "Any extra support now would be much appreciated. Israel's economy is suffering due to the expanding defense expenditures and the overall damage on the economy caused by the terrorist acts," he said, apparently unwilling to accept more logical explanations for the recession in Israel, such as restrained economic activity among Israel's major trading partners and a budget bloated by out-dated socialist policies, including payments and subsidies for settlements in the West Bank and Gaza.

"A spokesman for the majority whip said he did not know how DeLay planned to secure the funding," reports the Forward. Translation: DeLay is not sure where spending in the U.S. budget will be cut, or taxes raised, to come up with the $200 million.

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