US Foreign Aid to Israel

Congressional Research Service

March 2012

Summary

This report provides an overview of U.S. foreign assistance to Israel. It includes a review of past aid programs, data on annual assistance, and an analysis of current issues. For general information on Israel, see CRS Report RL33476, 

Israel: Background and U.S. Relations, by Jim Zanotti. 

Israel is the largest cumulative recipient of U.S. foreign assistance since World War II. To date, the United States has provided Israel $115 billion in bilateral assistance. Almost all U.S. bilateral aid to Israel is in the form of military assistance, although in the past Israel also received significant economic assistance. Strong congressional support for Israel has resulted in Israel  receiving benefits not available to any other countries; for example, Israel can use some U.S. military assistance both for research and development in the United States and for military purchases from Israeli manufacturers. In addition, all U.S. assistance earmarked for Israel is delivered in the first 30 days of the fiscal year, while most other recipients normally receive aid in installments. In addition to receiving U.S. State Department-administered foreign assistance, Israel also receives funds from annual defense appropriations bills for joint U.S.-Israeli missile defense programs. 

In 2007, the Bush Administration and the Israeli government agreed to a 10-year, $30 billion military aid package that gradually will raise Israel’s annual Foreign Military Financing grant from a baseline of nearly $2.55 billion in FY2009 to approximately $3.1 billion for FY2013 through FY2018. For FY2013, the Obama Administration is requesting $3.1 billion in FMF to Israel. 

In the second session of the 112th Congress, in addition to the normal foreign operations appropriations process, lawmakers may address: Administration or Israeli requests for additional defense appropriations for joint U.S.-Israeli missile defense; an extension of U.S. loan guarantees to Israel beyond FY2012 when they are set to expire; and new funding for joint U.S.-Israeli scientific research. 

The Obama Administration’s FY2013 request includes $3.1 billion in Foreign Military Financing for Israel and $15 million for refugee resettlement. Within the U.S. Department of Defense, the U.S. Missile Defense Agency’s FY2013 budget request includes $99.8 million in joint U.S.-Israeli co-development for missile defense. 

On March 5, 2012, House lawmakers introduced H.R. 4133, the United States-Israel Enhanced Security Cooperation Act of 2012. If passed, this bill would, among other things, allocate additional weaponry and munitions for the forward-deployed United States stockpile in Israel; provide Israel additional surplus defense articles and defense services, as appropriate, in the wake of the withdrawal of United States forces from Iraq; expand Israel's authority to make purchases under the Foreign Military Financing program on a commercial basis; encourage an expanded role for Israel within the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), including an enhanced presence at NATO headquarters and exercises; support extension of the long-standing loan guarantee program for Israel, recognizing Israel's unbroken record of repaying its loans on time and in full; and require the President to submit a report on the status of Israel's qualitative military edge in light of current trends and instability in the region.