US Aid to Israel

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Since 1979, the United States has given Israel $3 billion dollars per year in military aid with the amount increased to $3.8 in 2019. While some anti-Israel activists have criticized this policy, aid to Israel has been one of America's best investments. 

Aid to Israel has been one of America’s best investments.


  • Israel is America’s strongest ally in the Middle East. The two nations are bound together not only by interests, but also by the deeply held values they share.

  • Israel provides a cost-effective alternative to stationing American troops in the region. Our tax dollars maintain regional peace and stability by helping Israel respond effectively to the unprecedented military threats it—and we—face.

  • Israel is a major economic and technological ally. Many American companies including Google, Microsoft, Apple, IBM, and Intel operate major research facilities in Israel, and Israel creates hundreds of thousands of jobs in America through trade, investment, and other cooperation[1]. U.S. aid helps Israel defend itself so it can remain a valuable contributor to the American economy. 

  • By 2019, Israel must spend 100% of American aid money on American defense contractors[2].  This spending supports well over 20,000 jobs according to recent estimates[3].

The U.S. did not begin giving substantial amounts of aid to Israel until after 1967, when Israel demonstrated it was a vital strategic and military ally in the region.[4]

The U.S. spends far larger sums to defend other allies in Europe, Asia, and elsewhere.


  • As of 2009, America was spending $250 billion on its global military presence every year[5]. In 2016 alone the U.S. is set to spend $5.5 billion on protecting Japan with troops on the ground [6].

The U.S. is also a major financial supporter of the Palestinians and others in the region.

  • The U.S. has given the Palestinians over 10 billion dollars since 1993. The international community as a whole has given over $35 billion dollars during that period[7].

  • The United States has always supported Palestinian refugees, supplying close to 2/3 of the UNRWA (United Nations Reliefs and Works Agency) budget between 1950 and 1970 [8].

  • The U.S. has given Egypt and Jordan a total of $91.3 billion dollars in foreign aid since 1948. The goal has been to encourage Israel, Egypt, and Jordan to sign peace agreements and abide by them [9]. 

  • On numerous occasions Israel has acted to facilitate aid to the Palestinian Authority, when some Members of Congress considered withholding or slashing this aid entirely. 


The Palestinians are among the largest recipients of foreign aid in the world.


  • The West Bank and Gaza received at least $310 per person on average between 2005 and 2015 [10]. By comparison, Syria received $183 per person in 2016 [11].

  • 25% of the Palestinian Authority’s $3.1 billion budget was gathered from foreign aid in 2014. The PA stopped being transparent about where its income and funds were going that year[12].



1  StandWithUs, “Israel Creates Jobs in America,” 2013, at https://www.swuconnect.com/insys/npoflow.v.2/_assets/pdfs/fact_sheets/Israel%20Creates%20Jobs%20in%20America.pdf
2.  Bearak, Max, and Lazaro Gamio. "Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about the U.S. Foreign Assistance Budget." Washington Post. October 10, 2016. https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/world/which-countries-get-the-most-foreign-aid/.
3. Jeremy M. Sharp, “U.S. Foreign Aid to Israel,” Congressional Research Service, March 12, 2012, at www.fas.org/sgp/crs/mideast/RL33222.pdf; AIPAC, “Aid to Israel” n.d., at www.aipac.org/~/media/Publications/Policy%20and%20Politics/AIPAC%20Analyses/Issue%20Memos/2012/02/Aid%20to%20Israel_4page.pdf; Dave Schechter, “Aid to Israel, and the bang for those bucks,” CNN, January 31, 2009, at http://ac360.blogs.cnn.com/2009/01/31/aid-to-israel-and-the-bang-for-those-bucks 
4. Jeremy M. Sharp, “U.S. Foreign Aid to Israel,” Chereongressional Research Service, March 12, 2012, at www.fas.org/sgp/crs/mideast/RL33222.pdf
5.  Anita Dancs, “The Cost of the Global U.S. Military Presence,” Foreign Policy In Focus, July 2, 2009, at http://www.fpif.org/reports/the_cost_of_the_global_us_military_presence
6.  Yuka Koshino, “Q&A: How Much Do U.S. Military Bases in Japan and Korea Cost?” Wall Street Journal, April 28, 2016, at http://www.wsj.com/articles/q-a-how-much-do-u-s-military-bases-in-japan-and-korea-cost-1461822624 
7. . Clyde Mark, “United States Aid to the Palestinians,” Congressional Research Service, March 4, 2005, at http://fpc.state.gov/documents/organization/45198.pdf; Jim Zanotti, “U.S. Foreign Aid to the Palestinians,” Congressional Research Service, April 4, 2012, at http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/mideast/RS22967.pdf; StandWithUs, “Foreign Aid to the Palestinians (Data),” 2012, at https://www.swuconnect.com/insys/npoflow.v.2/_assets/pdfs/fact_sheets/Foreign%20Aid%20to%20the%20Palestinians%20Data.pdf 

8.  Clyde Mark, “United States Aid to the Palestinians,” Congressional Research Service, March 4, 2005, at http://fpc.state.gov/documents/organization/45198.pdf; Jim Zanotti, “U.S. Foreign Aid to the Palestinians,” Congressional Research Service, April 4, 2012, at http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/mideast/RS22967.pdf

9.  Foreignassitance.gov, “Foreign Assistance By Country Office,” n.d., at http://foreignassistance.gov/countryIntro.aspx; Jeremy M. Sharp, “Egypt in Transition,” Congressional Research Service, February 8, 2012, at http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/mideast/RL33003.pdf; Jeremy M. Sharp, “Jordan: Background and U.S. Relations,” Congressional Research Service, June 9, 2009, at http://www.usembassy.it/pdf/other/RL33546.pdf#search=%22us%20military%20aid%20to%20jordan%22; Jeremy M. Sharp, “U.S. Foreign Assistance to the Middle East: Historical Background, Recent Trends, and the FY2011 Request,” Congressional Research Service, June 15, 2010, at http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/mideast/RL32260.pdf; Jeremy M. Sharp, “U.S. Foreign Assistance to the Middle East: Historical Background, Recent Trends, and the FY2006 Request,” Congressional Research Service, June 13, 2005, at http://fpc.state.gov/documents/organization/50383.pdf

10.  CIA, “Gaza Strip,” The World Factbook, January 12, 2017, at https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/gz.html;  CIA, “West Bank,” The World Factbook, January 12, 2017, at https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/we.html; Ariel Ben Solomon, “Experts Clash Over Palestinian Demographic Statistics,” Jerusalem Post, January 1, 2015, at http://www.jpost.com/Middle-East/Experts-clash-over-Palestinian-demographic-statistics-386443  (The number depends on the population statistics used for the West Bank and Gaza. If the CIA World Factbook numbers are used it is $310/capita. If the American-Israel Demographic Research Group numbers are used it is $445/capita)

11.Quick facts: What you need to know about the Syria crisis." Mercy Corps. December 19, 2016. Accessed February 01, 2017. https://www.mercycorps.org/articles/iraq-jordan-lebanon-syria-turkey/quick-facts-what-you-need-know-about-syria-crisis

12. Hotovely, Tzipi. "Where Does All That Aid for Palestinians Go?" The Wall Street Journal. January 24, 2016. Accessed January 25, 2017. http://www.wsj.com/articles/where-does-all-that-aid-for-palestinians-go-1453669813


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