What Price Israel's Defense?
The Middle East’s New High Standard of Armaments
If all the weapons mounted on one of the twenty-four Israeli Mystère Mark IV jets newly purchased from France are fired for a total of sixty seconds, replacement of the rockets and other missiles expended in that single minute will cost $20,000.
Israel’s need today for weapons—and the money to pay for them—is as urgent as it was in the spring of 1948, when the emerging Jewish state had only some ancient light artillery pieces, a few Piper Cubs, and not one tank with which to defend herself against five invading Arab armies. Recent introduction into the Middle East of ultra high-speed aircraft—by the Soviets—and tanks equipped with complex electronic devices—by the British—has revolutionized Israel’s military cost-of-living index. Her usual cut-rate sources of supply—traders in surplus stocks of World War II and Korean date—are not peddling the new hardware. It is available only from the producers, and only by special authorization. The Arabs enjoy more than adequate access to Soviet stores, and generally at bargain terms. The Israelis —when they manage to persuade a Western government or licensee to release a limited quantity—must pay list prices which, by contrast with pre-supersonic days, are literally enormous.
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