|A Lavi prototype prepares for flight (Israeli Air Force)|
This past week marked the 28th anniversary of the vote to cancel the Lavi program, in 1987. In the decades that have followed, the chain of events that led the Lavi program to be launched, and which later led to its cancellation, have become ever more clouded by the passage of time. For both the proponents, and opponents of the program, the events that transpired have become more a subject for myth than a topic of studied consideration.
For my part, I have always considered the value of history to be in the lessons that it holds: the opportunity to allow past experience to inform future decisions. Sadly, too little of this has occurred surrounding a program that was once Israel's largest weapons development effort in the history of the Jewish State.
Whether someone believes that the cancellation was a monumental mistake, or that the program should never have been launched, anyone who genuinely cares about the U.S.-Israel relationship and about Israel's future defensive capabilities owes it to themselves to understand this chain of events, and what it means for the future.
Perhaps I am being overly optimistic to believe it possible, but there is still the chance that the painful lessons of the past can still be absorbed by those of us living today.