United States Limits Israeli Dual Citizens From Piloting F-35 Jets
Per a report by the Jerusalem Post on January 6, 2023, the Department of Defense and US intelligence authorities are limiting
Israeli air force pilots who possess dual citizenships from piloting F-35 fighter jets.
The Post noted that the US’s move is based on the “fear of information security and technology leaks,” as the US has been prioritizing information security in its efforts to prosecute great power competition against China and Russia.
Per sources, the Israeli air force has reportedly agreed with these new restrictions. As a result, Israel has stopped assigning pilots to its “Adir” F-35 fighter planes.
According to The Cradle, this move by the US represents a “longstanding concern that sensitive information regarding the design and technology of its combat aircraft will end up in Chinese hands.”
Back in the 1990s, US government officials asserted that China and Israel were working to build new fighter jets for China’s air force. These jets were supposed to “incorporate extensive technological innovations derived” from the “Lavi” jet’s blueprints. Israeli officials denied such cooperation at the time.
Originally, the US was working to produce the “Lavi” advanced fighter jet project for Israel before it was jettisoned in 1987.
Fast forward a few decades, the US media is now reporting that there is “considerable evidence” that points to China’s own aircraft — the J-10 “Vigorous Dragon “– was largely modeled after the “Lavi” aircraft, which was designed by the US.
American officials have recently contacted Israeli military officials over additional concerns about Israeli-contracted Chinese vehicles. American authorities worry that soldiers could “tag” sensitive information via multimedia systems and put them in a cloud where Chinese intelligence actors could have access to this information.
Though a Jerusalem Post report did note that “a compromise was found on this issue, with sensitive information being transferred to a protected and secure Israeli Cloud system.”
Israel has its own interests and will likely pursue policies that sometimes butts head with the US. Especially with countries like China, which the US views as its primary strategic competitor. All in all, the US needs to recalibrate its relations with Israel. It doesn’t need to punish Israel but it will need to stop providing military aid to it and not slavishly follow its foreign policy moves that don’t align with American interests.