The Congressional Research Service on August 7 issued a report titled US Foreign Aid to Israel, which includes a review of past aid programs, data on annual assistance, and analysis of current issues. According to the report, “Israel is the largest cumulative recipient of US foreign assistance since World War II. To date, the United States has provided Israel $142.3 billion (current, or non-inflation-adjusted, dollars) in bilateral assistance and missile defense funding. Almost all US bilateral aid to Israel is in the form of military assistance, although from 1971 to 2007 Israel also received significant economic assistance.
The Congressional Research Service (CRS), known as Congress’s think tank, is a public policy research arm of the United States Congress. As a legislative branch agency within the Library of Congress, CRS works primarily and directly for Members of Congress, their Committees and staff on a confidential, nonpartisan basis.
The CRS staff of approximately 600 employees includes lawyers, economists, reference librarians, and social, natural, and physical scientists. In fiscal year 2016, CRS was appropriated a budget of roughly $106.9 million by Congress.
According to the report’s executive summary, authored by Jeremy M. Sharp Specialist in Middle Eastern Affairs, in 2016, the US and Israeli governments signed a new 10-year Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on military aid, covering the budget years 2019 to 2028. Under the terms of the MOU, the United States pledges to provide $38 billion in military aid ($33 billion in foreign military financing grants, plus $5 billion in missile defense appropriations) to Israel. This MOU replaced a previous $30 billion 10-year agreement, which ran through 2018.
Israel is the first international operator of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the Department of Defense’s fifth-generation stealth aircraft, considered to be the most technologically advanced fighter jet ever made. To date, Israel has purchased 50 F-35s in three separate contracts.
The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2019, provides the following for Israel:
- $3.3 billion in Foreign Military Financing (FMF), of which $815.3 million is for off-shore procurement;
- $5 million in Migration and Refugee Assistance (MRA) for refugee resettlement
- $2 million in a homeland security grant;
- Reauthorization of US loan guarantees to Israel through September 30, 2023
- Reauthorization of War Reserve Stock Allies-Israel (WRSA-I) through Sept 30, 2020.
The Department of Defense and Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Act, 2019 and Continuing Appropriations Act, 2019, provides the following for Israel:
- $500 million in missile defense, of which $70 million is for Iron Dome, $187 million for David’s Sling, $80 million for Arrow 3, and $163 million for Arrow 2.
- For 2020, the Trump Administration requested $3.3 billion in FMF for Israel and $500 million in missile defense aid to mark the second year of the MOU. The Administration also requested $5 million in MRA humanitarian funding for migrants to Israel.