U.S. Foreign Aid: A Blank Check for Israel

The US Congress report  – link below – 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.


Israel is the largest cumulative recipient of U.S. foreign assistance since World War II. From 1976-2004, Israel was the largest annual recipient of U.S. foreign assistance, having since been supplanted by Iraq. Since 1985, the United States has provided nearly $3 billion in grants annually to Israel.


Almost all U.S. bilateral aid to Israel is in the form of military assistance. In the past, Israel also had received significant economic assistance. Strong congressional support for Israel has resulted in Israel’s receiving benefits not available to 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. foreign assistance earmarked for Israel is delivered in the first 30 days of the fiscal year. Most other recipients normally receive aid in instalments. Congress also appropriates funds for joint U.S.-Israeli missile defence programs.


In August 2007, the Bush Administration announced that it would increase U.S. military assistance to Israel by $6 billion over the next decade. The agreement calls for incremental annual increases in Foreign Military Financing (FMF) to Israel, reaching $3 billion a year by FY2011. For FY2011, the Obama Administration requested $3 billion in FMF to Israel.


According to the State Department’s FY2011 budget justification for Foreign Operations, “U.S. assistance will help ensure that Israel maintains its qualitative military edge over potential threats, and prevent a shift in the security balance of the region. U.S. assistance is also aimed at ensuring for Israel the security it requires to make concessions necessary for comprehensive regional peace.”


After years of negotiation, the United States and Israel announced in August 2010 that Israel will purchase 20 F-35s at a cost of $2.75 billion, which will be paid for entirely with FMF grants. The first planes are scheduled to be delivered in 2015, though the deal is still pending final approval by the Israeli cabinet.


Jeremy M. Sharp

Specialist in Middle Eastern Affairs, US Congressional Research Service


See full report:



2 responses to this post.

  1. An interesting input. While it is a known fact that Israel has all along remained the most favored nation of USA and there is a strong US-Israeli nexus guarding each others security and strategic interests, what is required to be understood is the addition of India in the US security paradigm. The three countries are strategically aligned.
    While Israel guards US intersts in the Middle East region, India is being upgraded economically and militarily to become a bulwark against China and also an unchallenged power in South Asia. It is also being promoted as a key player in Afghan affairs. Israel has become the biggest arms supplier to India, while the US has provided India access to unlimited nuclear material by inking a civil nuclear deal in August 2008. The US has also publically announced its support for permanent membership of India in UNSC. India is working hard to attain a status similar to Israel as far as economic and military assistance is concerned.
    The point to ponder is that while America’s helplessness against Israel due to American Jewish lobby in USA is understandable, what is making USA so docile towards India to overlook its mass violation of human rights in Kashmir and against religious minorities in India? Has the sole super power become so weak that today it is looking towards India to get jobs for the unemployed Americans and to sell US goods to India?
    In my view, the US is promoting terrorism in the world by supporting the two leading terrorist states Israel and India. Both do not want the war on terror to end since its is in their interest. Both will contribute towards US fall but American leadership continues to blindly trust the duo.


  2. […] U.S. Foreign Aid: A Blank Check for Israel November 2010 1 comment 3 […]


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