US Aid to Israel: 2014 Fact Sheet

Total American aid to Israel since 1949 exceeds $118 billion (in non-inflation-adjusted dollars).

In the 2013 fiscal year, the U.S. gave Israel $3.1 billion in Foreign Military Financing funds (FMF).

“Foreign Military Financing refers to congressionally appropriated grants given to foreign governments to finance the purchase of American-made weapons, services and training. The vast majority of these funds goes to Israel and Egypt,” according to the Federation of American Scientists.
At the completion of this 10-year-plan in 2018, the U.S. will have given Israel $30 billion in unconditional military aid. The United States awards this grant in one lump sum, unlike other foreign recipients, which receive their payments in installments. Israel uses the interest it earns on this amount to pay down its debt to the United States, valued at $455 million in January 2013.

Under the terms of the agreement, Israel will be able to spend 26 percent of these U.S. funds on Israeli-manufactured military equipment. (This is known as Off-Shore Procurement.) This agreement, which is unique only to Israel, has allowed Israel to grow to be the world’s 7th largest exporter of military weaponry and equipment.
Israel also receives aid in other ways such as loan guarantees, refugee resettlement assistance, and reduced cost or free military equipment.

Here is a breakdown of some of US Aid to Israel:

  • Israel is the largest recipient of US Foreign Military Financing.
  • For FY2014, President Barack Obama’s funding request for Israel would account for more than half (52%) of FMF worldwide.
  • Annual FMF grants account for up to 25% of Israel’s defense budget.
  • Israel is allowed to use FMF to purchase weapons produced in Israel. No other country receives this benefit.
  • Israel will purchase 19 F-35s at a cost of $2.75 billion. Israel will pay for this entirely using FMF grants supplied by the United States. 
  • Under negotiated agreements, Israel may purchase an additional squadron of F-35s, up to 75 aircraft, costing a total of $15.2 billion.
  • As part of the deal, the U.S. has pledged to spend $4 billion purchasing equipment from Israel’s defense industries.
  • From 2001 to the present, Israel has received free weaponry, called Excess Defense Articles, worth more than $330 million. 
  • In FY2013, Congress authorized $211 million for Israel’s Iron Dome Missile Defense System, despite the budget sequestration that was in place.
  • The Secretary of Defense will request an additional nearly $500 million for Iron Dome in FY2014 and FY2015.
  • The Defense Department appropriations for all missile defense systems in Israel (Iron Dome, Arrow II, Arrow III, David’s Sling) for FY2014 is more than $315 million.

Additional grants and loan guarantees:

  • $25 million – The amount the United States gave Israel in 2010 to help Jewish immigrants move to Israel, settle there and learn Hebrew.
  • $460 million – The amount the U.S. State Department’s Migration and Refugee Assistance program gave Israel – through the private charity United Israel Appeal - to resettle Jews in Israel between 1973 and 1991.
  • $9.2 billion – Amount U.S. gave Israel to resettle Soviet Jews between 1972 and 1990.
  • $15 million — Amount allocated for refugee assistance for FY2014.
  • $3.8 billion — The amount Israel is authorized to issue in US-backed bonds (loan guarantees).

Israel, not an honest broker

Israel has not always been an honest foreign aid recipient, breaking both U.S. and international laws by the misuse of American weaponry, espionage and selling sensitive military equipment and knowledge to countries unfriendly to the United States.

Weapons use violations

  • Cluster munitions – In 1982 the Reagan administration found that Israel ‘may’ have violated its 1952 Mutual Defense Assistance Agreement with the U.S. by using U.S.-supplied cluster bombs against civilians in Lebanon.
  • Israel also may have violated several American laws by its use of American-made Apache helicopters, F-16 fighter jets and other U.S.-produced ammunition on the civilian population of Gaza during Operation Cast Lead in December 2008 and January 2009, according to a report by the National Lawyers Guild.
  • Questionable deals
  • In 2000, Israel sought to sell the Airborne Early Warning System to China, which could threaten “the forces of democratic Taiwan and the United States in the region surrounding the Taiwan Straights.”
  • In 2006, Israel froze a $100-million contract with Venezuela to upgrade its U.S. manufactured F-16 fighter jets due to U.S. pressure.
  • In 2009, an Israeli defense company partnering with Swedish manufacturer Saab backed out of a bidding competition to sell Swedish-designed fighter jets to India because U.S. officials worried U.S. technology would be integrated into the jets.

Espionage-related cases

  • Jonathan Pollard was indicted in November 1985 for selling classified documents to Israel. Four Israelis also were charged. Pollard was convicted and is serving a life sentence.
  • Lawrence Franklin, indicted June 13, 2005, for the unauthorized disclosure of classified information relating to al Qaeda, U.S. policy toward Iran and the Khobar Towers bombing in Saudi Arabia to a foreign diplomat. 
  • Steven J. Rosen and Keith Weissman, of the AIPAC lobby, were indicted on Aug. 4, 2005, for their part in the Franklin’s espionage. On May 1, 2009, U.S. prosecutors filed a motion to dismiss the case because of the likelihood that classified information would be revealed at trial that would damage national security.
  • Ben-Ami Kadish, arrested on April 22, 2008, on suspicion of giving classified information on nuclear weapons to Israel. Kadish pleaded guilty on May 29, 2009, to one count of conspiracy to act as an unregistered agent of Israel and was fined $50,000.
  • Stewart Nozette, indicted on Oct. 15, 2009, for allegedly attempting to sell classified information about U.S. satellites, early-warning systems and other systems to the Mossad (Israel’s foreign intelligence and spy agency). Nozette pleaded guilty to a “seemingly unrelated two-count charge of conspiracy to defraud the United States and tax evasion.”

Sources: CSR Report for Congress, “U.S. Foreign Aid to Israel” April 11, 2013; “Israel: Background and U.S. Relations,” Feb. 14, 2011; and “Onslaught: Israel’s Attack on Gaza & the Rule of Law,” National Lawyers Guild

AMP 03/15/14