American arms stockpiles in Israel have begun to shrink, Israeli officials said, voicing fears Washington will exhaust munitions earmarked for use by Tel Aviv in the event of ”emergencies.” The White House has shipped weapons from its depots around the globe to fuel the Ukrainian war machine.
A Thursday report in the Israel Hayom newspaper noted that some of the materiel had been transferred out of US stocks through the Port of Ashdod in recent months to “avoid drawing media attention,” citing unnamed Israeli officials. The sources said the shipments began under Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and “continued until recent weeks.”
”These are Israel’s reserve stockpiles for times of war,” a former cabinet minister told the outlet, claiming the Pentagon’s decision to draw on the weapons has ”a bigger implication” due to alleged ”threats” faced by Tel Aviv.
In January, the New York Times reported that the White House had started dipping into US arms depots based in South Korea and Israel. While the munitions stored in Israel are primarily intended to supply US forces should a conflict break out in the Middle East, the military has also allowed Israeli troops to tap the stockpiles in times of crisis.
The decision to take weapons from multiple depots abroad comes as the North Atlantic alliance has drained its supply of arms, particularly artillery shells, to fight the proxy war against Russia in Ukraine. At the current rate, Kiev is burning through more 155-millimeter rounds than the US and its allies can produce, sending Western arms dealers into overdrive to meet Ukrainian needs.
As the war continues to deplete existing stockpiles, the Pentagon is planning to establish new arms depots in or near Taiwan, highlighting a gradual shift away from regime change operations in the Middle East to ‘great power conflict’ with Russia and China. It could therefore be some time before the Israeli arms depots are restored, with a US official confirming to Israel Hayom that ”it is still not clear when the reserves will be restocked.”
According to the AP, the Defense Department has devoted $1.5 billion to ramp up production of 155mm shells. However, while the Pentagon hopes to churn out more than 80,000 rounds per month by 2028, that falls far short of Kiev’s fire rate of around 6,000 to 8,000 shells per day, and may be too lengthy a process to meet the country’s immediate needs.