U.S. Foreign Aid to Israel

U.S. Foreign Aid to Israel
November 16, 2020
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 analysis of current issues. For general information
Jeremy M. Sharp
on Israel, see Israel: Background and U.S. Relations in Brief, by Jim Zanotti.
Specialist in Middle
Eastern Affairs
Israel is the largest cumulative recipient of U.S. foreign assistance since World War II.

Successive Administrations, working with Congress, have provided Israel with significant
assistance in light of robust domestic U.S. support for Israel and its security; shared strategic

goals in the Middle East; a mutual commitment to democratic values; and historical ties dating
from U.S. support for the creation of Israel in 1948. To date, the United States has provided Israel $146 billion (current, or
noninflation-adjusted, dollars) in bilateral assistance and missile defense funding. At present, almost all U.S. bilateral aid to
Israel is in the form of military assistance, although from 1971 to 2007, Israel also received significant economic assistance.
In 2016, the U.S. and Israeli governments signed their third 10-year Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on military aid,
covering FY2019 to FY2028. Under the terms of the MOU, the United States pledged to provide—subject to congressional
appropriation—$38 billion in military aid ($33 billion in Foreign Military Financing grants plus $5 billion in missile defense
appropriations) to Israel. This MOU followed a previous $30 billion 10-year agreement, which ran through FY2018.
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, funded with U.S. assistance.
For FY2021, 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 Migration and Refugee Assistance
humanitarian funding for migrants to Israel.
H.R. 7608 – State, Foreign Operations, Agriculture, Rural Development, Interior, Environment, Military Construction, and
Veterans Affairs Appropriations Act, 2021 (which passed the House in July 2020) would, among other things, provide $3.3
billion in Foreign Military Financing (FMF) for Israel.
H.R. 7617 – The Defense, Commerce, Justice, Science, Energy and Water Development, Financial Services and General
Government, Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development
Appropriations Act, 2021 (which passed the House in July 2020) would provide $500 million in joint U.S.-Israeli missile
defense cooperation (of which $73 million for Iron Dome, $177 million for David’s Sling, $77 million for Arrow III, and
$173 million for Arrow II).

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Background and Recent Trends ....................................................................................................... 1
U.S. Aid and Israel’s Advanced Military Technology ..................................................................... 2
Qualitative Military Edge (QME) ................................................................................................... 3
U.S. Bilateral Military Aid to Israel ................................................................................................ 5
The Current 10-Year Security Assistance Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) ................ 6
Foreign Military Financing (FMF) and Arms Sales .................................................................. 8
Cash Flow Financing .......................................................................................................... 9
Early Transfer and Interest Bearing Account ...................................................................... 9
F-35 Joint Strike Fighter ................................................................................................... 10
KC-46A Pegasus ................................................................................................................ 11
Excess Defense Articles .......................................................................................................... 12
Defense Budget Appropriations for U.S.-Israeli Missile Defense Programs ................................ 13
Iron Dome ............................................................................................................................... 13
Iron Dome’s Past Performance ......................................................................................... 14
Co-production and U.S. Funding ...................................................................................... 16
David’s Sling ........................................................................................................................... 17
Overview ........................................................................................................................... 17
Co-production and U.S. Funding ...................................................................................... 18
The Arrow and Arrow II .......................................................................................................... 18
High Altitude Missile Defense System (Arrow III) ................................................................ 19
Emergency U.S. Stockpile in Israel......................................................................................... 21
Defense Budget Appropriations/Authorization for Anti-Tunnel Defense ..................................... 23
Defense Budget Appropriations/Authorization for Countering Unmanned Aerial Systems ......... 24
Aid Restrictions and Possible Violations ....................................................................................... 25
Arms Sales and Use of U.S.-Supplied Equipment .................................................................. 25
Human Rights Vetting (Leahy Law) ....................................................................................... 26
Use of U.S. Funds Within Israel’s Pre-June 1967 Borders ..................................................... 27
Annexation and U.S. Foreign Aid to Israel ............................................................................. 28
Israeli Arms Transfers to Third Parties.................................................................................... 29
Israel and China ................................................................................................................ 29
Other Ongoing Assistance and Cooperative Programs .................................................................. 31
Migration & Refugee Assistance............................................................................................. 31
Loan Guarantees...................................................................................................................... 32
Overview ........................................................................................................................... 32
Loan Guarantees for Economic Recovery ........................................................................ 32

American Schools and Hospitals Abroad Program (ASHA)................................................... 34
U.S.-Israeli Scientific & Business Cooperation ...................................................................... 35
U.S.-Israeli Energy Cooperation (BIRD Energy) ............................................................. 37
U.S.-Israel Center of Excellence in Energy, Engineering and Water Technology

(Energy Center) .............................................................................................................. 37
BIRD Homeland Security (BIRD HLS) ........................................................................... 38
FY2021 Israel Assistance Legislation ........................................................................................... 38

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Figure 1. Phasing Out Off-Shore Procurement (OSP) Under the MOU ......................................... 7
Figure 2. U.S. Military Aid to Israel over Decades ......................................................................... 8
Figure 3. U.S. and Israeli F-35s Fly in Formation ......................................................................... 10
Figure 4. F-35 Helmet Mounted Display ....................................................................................... 11
Figure 5. Iron Dome Launcher ...................................................................................................... 14
Figure 6. David’s Sling Launches Stunner Interceptor ................................................................. 18
Figure 7. Army Officers Inspect WRSA-I ..................................................................................... 21

Table 1. Total U.S. Foreign Aid Obligations to Israel: 1946-2020 .................................................. 2
Table 2. Selected Notified U.S. Foreign Military Sales to Israel .................................................. 12
Table 3. U.S. Contributions to the Arrow Program (Arrow, Arrow II, and Arrow III) .................. 19
Table 4. Defense Budget Appropriations for U.S.-Israeli Missile Defense: FY2006-
FY2020 ....................................................................................................................................... 20
Table 5. U.S.-Israeli Anti-Tunnel Cooperation .............................................................................. 24
Table 6. Migration and Refugee Assistance Funding Levels for Israel ......................................... 31
Table 7. U.S. Loan Guarantees to Israel: FY2003-FY2020 .......................................................... 34
Table 8. ASHA Program Grants from Israel Account: FY2000-FY2016 ...................................... 35

Table A-1. U.S. Bilateral Aid to Israel ........................................................................................... 41

Appendix. Bilateral Aid to Israel ................................................................................................... 41

Author Information ........................................................................................................................ 41

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Background and Recent Trends
The United States and Israel have maintained strong bilateral relations based on a number of
factors, including robust domestic U.S. support for Israel and its security; shared strategic goals in
the Middle East; a mutual commitment to democratic values; and historical ties dating from U.S.
support for the creation of Israel in 1948. U.S. foreign aid has been a major component in
cementing and reinforcing these ties. U.S. officials and many lawmakers have long considered
Israel to be a vital partner in the region, and U.S. aid packages for Israel have reflected this
calculation. While some U.S. citizens have worked to cultivate U.S. support for Israel since its
creation in 1948, in the years following the 1973 Yom Kippur War advocates for Israel have
engaged in organized, broad-based domestic efforts to foster bipartisan support in Congress for
the bilateral relationship, including for U.S. aid to Israel.
In recent years, however, that strong domestic support for Israel has become more of a subject of
debate.1 While both the Republican and Democratic parties have expressed “unequivocal”
(Republican party platform 2016) or “ironclad” (Democratic party platform 2020) support for
Israel, including aid,2 some Democrats from within the progressive wing of the party have
become more vocal about conditioning, repurposing, or even cutting foreign aid to Israel.3 For
part of 2020, when Israel considered annexing part of the West Bank, a number of Democratic
lawmakers took varying approaches to signaling their opposition to annexation (see below). Some
Members warned in general terms that annexation would harm U.S.-Israeli relations, while others
were more explicit in cautioning that should Israel go ahead, they might advance legislation that
would have either cut aid or prohibited its use or application in annexed territories.
The 2020 Abraham Accords between Israel, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Bahrain, which
normalized diplomatic relations between Israel and two Gulf Arab monarchies, may portend
requests to Congress for a major increase in U.S. foreign aid and military sales to Israel in the
years ahead see (“Qualitative Military Edge (QME)”). Although not officially part of Israel’s
agreement with the UAE, the United States has proposed selling the UAE, among other things,
the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the most advanced fighter aircraft ever built. To maintain Israel’s
technological superiority in arms over its neighbors, Israel and the United States are working on a
package of offsetting sales and foreign aid to Israel. As of October 2020, the Trump
Administration was considering an acceleration of the timetable for delivering some of the
remaining $26.4 billion in Foreign Military Financing (FMF) grants to Israel (out of a total of $33
billion) pledged in the 2016 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to Israel, subject to the
approval of Congress. The United States also may approve additional sales of the F-35 to Israel
and accelerate the delivery of KC-46A refueling and transport aircraft to Israel.

1 The issue of what constitutes legitimate criticism of U.S. policy toward Israel and what qualifies as the de-
legitimization of Israel or even anti-Semitism has received extensive media coverage in recent years. For example, see
“How the Battle over Israel and Anti-Semitism is Fracturing American Politics,” New York Times, March 28, 2019.
2 The Republican National Committee’s 2020 platform, unchanged from 2016, is available online here: https://prod-
cdn-static.gop.com/docs/Resolution_Platform_2020.pdf. The 2020 Democratic Party Platform is available online at:
3 For example, during his campaign to be the 2020 Democratic presidential nominee, Senator Bernie Sanders said in
October 2019: “My solution is to say to Israel: ‘You get $3.8 billion every year. If you want military aid, you’re going
to have to fundamentally change your relationship to the people of Gaza.’ In fact, I think it is fair to say that some of
that should go right now into humanitarian aid. See, “Biden calls Sanders’ Pitch to Leverage Israel Aid ‘Bizarre,’
Associated Press, December 7, 2019.
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Table 1. Total U.S. Foreign Aid Obligations to Israel: 1946-2020
current, or non-inflation-adjusted, dollars in millions
Fiscal Year
Missile Defense
Sources: U.S. Overseas Loans and Grants (Greenbook), the U.S. State Department, and the Missile Defense
Notes: The Greenbook figures do not include missile defense funding provided by the Department of Defense.
According to USAID Data Services as of March 2020, in constant 2018 U.S. dol ars (inflation-adjusted), total U.S.
aid to Israel obligated from 1946-2018 is $236 bil ion.
U.S. Aid and Israel’s Advanced Military Technology
Almost all current U.S. aid to Israel is in the form of military assistance.4 U.S. military aid has
helped transform Israel’s armed forces into one of the most technologically sophisticated
militaries in the world (“Qualitative Military Edge (QME)”). U.S. military aid also has helped
Israel build its domestic defense industry, which now ranks as one of the top global exporters of
arms.5 Israeli defense companies, such as Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), Rafael, and Elbit
Systems export nearly 70% of their products abroad. 6 Israel exports missile defense systems,
unmanned aerial vehicles, cybersecurity products, radar, and electronic communications systems
to, among others: India,7 Azerbaijan, Vietnam, Thailand, South Korea, Singapore, Philippines,
Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Greece, Russia, Brazil, and the United States.8 In addition to
the U.S. purchase of Iron Dome (see below), the United States has purchased, among other items,
the following Israeli defense articles: Trophy active protection systems for M1 Abrams tanks,
helmets for F-35 fighter pilots, and an electronic fence along the U.S.-Mexico border.

4 For many years, U.S. economic aid helped subsidize a lackluster Israeli economy, but since the rapid expansion of
Israel’s high-tech sector and overall economy in the 1990s (sparked partially by U.S.-Israeli scientific cooperation),
Israel has been considered a fully industrialized nation. Consequently, Israel and the United States agreed to gradually
phase out economic grant aid to Israel. In FY2008, Israel stopped receiving bilateral Economic Support Fund (ESF)
grants. It had been a large-scale recipient of grant ESF assistance since 1971.
5 See, CRS Report R44716, Conventional Arms Transfers to Developing Nations, 2008-2015, by Catherine A.
Theohary. Also, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), from 2015 to 2019, Israel
was the 8th largest arms exporter worldwide, accounting for 3% of world deliveries. See, “Trends in International Arms
Transfers, 2019,” SIPRI Fact Sheet, March 2020.
6 Sasson Hadad, Tomer Fadlon, and Shmuel Even (editors), “Israel’s Defense Industry and US Security Aid,” INSS,
Memorandum No. 202, July 2020.
7 India is the largest buyer of Israeli defense equipment. See, Rina Bassist, “Israel, India Advance on Phalcon AWACS
Megadeal,” Al Monitor, September 3, 2020.
8 Israel Ministry of Defense, Defense Export and Defense Co‐Operation Agency (SIBAT), and Jane’s, Navigating the
Emerging Markets, Israel, January 10, 2019. Per a 1987 Memorandum of Understanding between the United States and
Israel as amended, (Reciprocal Defense Procurement and Acquisition Policy Memorandum of Understanding), Israeli
and U.S. defense contractors are able to compete in both countries for contracts on an equal basis. For the text of the
MOU, see: https://www.acq.osd.mil/dpap/Docs/mou-israel.pdf.
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Qualitative Military Edge (QME)
U.S. military aid for Israel has been designed to maintain Israel’s “qualitative military edge” over
neighboring militaries.9 The rationale for QME is that Israel must rely on better equipment and
training to compensate for being much smaller in land area and population than most of its
potential adversaries.10 For decades, successive Administrations, in conjunction with Congress,
have taken measures to maintain Israel’s QME in a number of ways. For example:
 In practice, U.S. arms sales policy has traditionally allowed Israel first regional
access to U.S. defense technology.11
 In cases in which both Israel and an Arab state operate the same U.S. platform,
Israel has first received either a more advanced version of the platform or the
ability to customize the U.S. system.12
 In cases in which Israel objected to a major defense article sale to an Arab
military (e.g., the 1981 sale of Airborne Early Warning and Control System
aircraft or “AWACS” to Saudi Arabia), Congress has, at times, advocated for and
legislated conditions on the usage and transfer of such weapons prior to or
after a sale.13
 The United States has compensated Israel with “offsetting” weapons packages or
military aid when selling other U.S. major defense articles to a Middle Eastern
military rival (see textbox below).
Over time, Congress codified informal QME-related practices in a way that encouraged a more
deliberate interagency process for each major U.S. arms sale to Middle Eastern governments
other than Israel.14 In the 110th Congress, Representative Howard Berman sponsored legislation

9 For more coverage of this issue, see CRS Report R46580, Israel’s Qualitative Military Edge and Possible U.S. Arms
Sales to the United Arab Emirates
, coordinated by Jeremy M. Sharp and Jim Zanotti.
10 The concept of QME (independent of its application to Israel) dates back to the Cold War. In assessing the balance of
power in Europe, U.S. war planners would often stress to lawmakers that, because countries of the Warsaw Pact had a
numerical advantage over U.S. and allied forces stationed in Europe, the United States must maintain a “qualitative
edge” in defense systems. For example, see, Written Statement of General William O. Gribble, Jr., Hearings on
Research, Development, Test, and Evaluation Program for Fiscal Year 1973, Before Subcommittee No. 1 of Committee
on Armed Services, House of Representatives, Ninety-Second Congress, Second Session, February 2, 3, 7, 9, 22, 23,
24, March 6, 7, and 8, 1972. The concept was subsequently applied to Israel in relation to its Arab adversaries. In 1981,
then-U.S. Secretary of State Alexander Haig testified before Congress, saying, “A central aspect of US policy since the
October 1973 war has been to ensure that Israel maintains a qualitative military edge.” Secretary of State Alexander
Haig, Statement for the Record submitted in response to Question from Hon. Clarence Long, House Appropriations
Subcommittee on Foreign Operations Appropriations, April 28, 1981.
11 For example, Israel acquired the F-15 in 1976, six years before Saudi Arabia. It received the delivery of the F-16
fighter in 1980, three years before Egypt. In 1977, P.L. 95–92 provided that: “In accordance with the historic special
relationship between the United States and Israel and previous agreements and continuing understandings, the Congress
joins with the President in reaffirming that a policy of restraint in United States arms transfers, including arms sales
ceilings, shall not impair Israel's deterrent strength or undermine the military balance in the Middle East.”
12 “The Double Edged Sword of the Qualitative Military Edge,” Israel Policy Forum, April 11, 2016.
13 See Section 131, Certification Concerning AWACS sold to Saudi Arabia, P.L. 99-83, the International Security and
Development Cooperation Act of 1985.
14 According to one Senate staffer, prior to 2008, during congressional review of possible U.S. arms sales to the Middle
East, QME concerns only were addressed on an ad hoc basis, usually through consultations between the military and
committee staff. Some congressional staff felt that assessments for specific arms sales tended to be overly subjective.
Since staff frequently raised QME concerns, the attempt to enshrine QME as a statutory requirement stemmed from a
desire to rationalize the process, make it more objective, and incorporate it as a regular component of the U.S. arms
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(H.R. 5916, Section 201) to “carry out an empirical and qualitative assessment on an ongoing
basis of the extent to which Israel possesses a qualitative military edge over military threats.”
After becoming Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, then-Chairman Berman was
able to incorporate this language into the Naval Vessel Transfer Act of 2008 (P.L. 110-429). The
relevant QME provisions of this law had three primary elements: (1) they defined QME;15 (2)
they required an assessment of Israel’s QME every four years; and (3) they amended the Arms
Export Control Act (22 U.S.C. §2776) to require a determination, for any export of a U.S. defense
article to any country in the Middle East other than Israel, that such a sale would not adversely
affect Israel’s QME.
Preserving QME: Offsetting Weapons Packages for Israel
The fol owing specific instances supplement general U.S. efforts to strengthen Israel’s QME, which are
documented in a number of sources:16

In 1992, after the United States announced a sale to Saudi Arabia of F-15 fighters, the George H.W.
Bush Administration provided Israel with Apache and Blackhawk helicopters, and pre-positioned U.S.
defense equipment in Israel for Israeli use with U.S. approval, as various means of preserving Israel’s

In 2007, after the George W. Bush Administration agreed to sell Saudi Arabia Joint Direct Attack
Munitions (JDAMs), the Administration reportedly agreed to sell more advanced JDAMs to Israel as a
means of preserving its QME.18

In 2010, the Obama Administration agreed to sell an additional 20 F-35 aircraft to Israel as a means of
preserving its QME in response to a sale to Saudi Arabia that included F-15s.19

In 2013, after the Obama Administration agreed to sell the UAE advanced F-16 fighters, then Secretary
of Defense Chuck Hagel announced that the United States would provide Israel with KC-135 refueling
aircraft, anti-radiation missiles, advanced radar, and the sale of six V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft.20 At
the time, the U.S. proposal marked the first time that the United States had offered to sell tilt-rotor
Ospreys to another country. Israel would eventually cancel its planned purchase of the V-22 due to
budgetary constraints.
Since the passage of the QME law and its amending of the Arms Export Control Act, the
interagency process to assess Israel’s QME has taken place behind closed doors with little
fanfare. According to the Defense Security Cooperation Agency’s (DSCA) Security Assistance
Manual, QME determinations can be classified.21 After a QME determination has been made

sales review process to Middle Eastern governments. CRS conversation with Senate Foreign Relations Committee staff
member, September 24, 2020.
15 Section 201(d)(2) defines QME as “the ability to counter and defeat any credible conventional military threat from
any individual state or possible coalition of states or from non-state actors, while sustaining minimal damage and
casualties, through the use of superior military means, possessed in sufficient quantity, including weapons, command,
control, communication, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capabilities that in their technical characteristics
are superior in capability to those of such other individual or possible coalition of states or non-state actors.”
16 See, e.g., State Department, Remarks by Andrew J. Shapiro, Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Political-Military Affairs,
November 4, 2011; “U.S.-Israel Strategic Cooperation: U.S. Provides Israel a Qualitative Military Advantage,” Jewish
Virtual Library
17 See, Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 18 White House Statement on US Military Assistance to Israel, September
26, 1992, VOLUME 13-14: 1992-1994.
18 Dan Williams, “Israel to get ‘smarter’ U.S.-made bombs than Saudis,” Reuters, January 13, 2020.
19 Eli Lake, “In Gates Book, Details of Israel’s Hard Bargaining Over Saudi Arms,” Daily Beast, January 10, 2014.
20 “U.S. Near $10 Billion Arms Deal with Israel, Saudi Arabia, UAE,” Reuters, April 19, 2013.
21 See https://www.samm.dsca.mil/chapter/chapter-5.
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regarding a specific proposed sale, DSCA includes a line in the applicable congressional
notification reading, “The proposed sale will not alter the basic military balance in the region.”
At times, lawmakers have amended or attempted to amend aspects of the 2008 law. The U.S.-
Israel Strategic Partnership Act (P.L. 113-296) amended Section 36 of the AECA to require that
the Administration explain, in cases of sales or exports of major U.S. defense equipment to other
Middle Eastern states, what is “Israel’s capacity to address the improved capabilities provided by
such sale or export.”22 In the 116th Congress, Representative Bradley Schneider sponsored (H.R.
8494), the Guaranteeing Israel's QME Act of 2020, which requires the President to consult with
Israeli officials before making a QME determination.23 Another QME-related bill introduced in
the 116th Congress is S. 4814, the Secure F-35 Exports Act of 2020. This legislation would,
among other things, require a certification by the President before the provision of F-35 aircraft to
a Middle Eastern country other than Israel that such sale will not undermine Israel’s QME.
At various times in the past, the U.S. government reportedly has held regular consultations with
Israeli officials regarding the potential impact of regional arms sales on QME.24 Some former
Obama Administration officials have responded to news of the possible sale of the F-35 to the
UAE with criticism of what they perceive as a lack of time for U.S. officials and Congress to
properly assess the transaction. Some have written that previous QME determinations
encompassed “classified negotiations that got to the heart of Israel’s defense capabilities,”25 and
that “the process of military consultations with Israel on a given weapons system typically took
several years of extensive defense shuttle diplomacy, completed before formally notifying
Congress of the arms sale package.”26
U.S. Bilateral Military Aid to Israel
Since 1999, overall U.S. assistance to Israel has been outlined in 10-year government-to-
government Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs). MOUs are not legally binding agreements
like treaties, and thus do not require Senate ratification. Also, Congress may accept or change
year-to-year assistance levels for Israel, or provide supplemental appropriations. Nevertheless,
past MOUs have significantly influenced the terms of U.S. aid to Israel; Congress has
appropriated foreign aid to Israel largely according to the terms of the MOU in place at the time.

22 The Act also requires the Administration to: evaluate “how such sale or export alters the strategic and tactical
balance in the region, including relative capabilities; and Israel’s capacity to respond to the improved regional
capabilities provided by such sale or export,” and include “an identification of any specific new capacity, capabilities,
or training that Israel may require to address the regional or country-specific capabilities provided by such sale or
export; and a description of any additional United States security assurances to Israel made, or requested to be made, in
connection with, or as a result of, such sale or export.”
23 In the 115th Congress, Representative Schneider sponsored H.R. 2833, Defending Israel’s QME Act of 2017.
24 Barbara Opall-Rome, “Israeli Brass Decry U.S. Arms Sales to Arab States,” Defense News, January 23, 2012. At the
time this article was published, the U.S. side of the working group was led by the Under Secretary of Defense for
Policy and Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs, while the Israeli side was led by the Defense
Ministry’s policy chief and the Israel Defense Forces director of planning.
25 Representative Elissa Slotkin, “The Importance of Preserving Israel’s Qualitative Military Edge,” Medium.com,
September 14, 2020.
26 Barbara A. Leaf and Dana Stroul, “The F-35 Triangle: America, Israel, the United Arab Emirates,” War on the
, September 15, 2020. See also, Andrew Shapiro and Derek Chollet, “Selling F-35s to the Middle East Was
Never Going to Be Easy,” Defense One, September 14, 2020.
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Brief History of MOUs on U.S. Aid to Israel
The first 10-year MOU (FY1999-FY2008), agreed to under the Clinton Administration, was known as the “Glide
Path Agreement” and represented a political commitment to provide Israel with at least $26.7 bil ion in total
economic and military aid over its duration (of which $21.3 bil ion was in military aid).27 This MOU provided the
template for the gradual phase-out of all economic assistance to Israel.
In 2007, the Bush Administration and the Israeli government agreed to a second MOU consisting of a $30 bil ion
military aid package for the 10-year period from FY2009 to FY2018. Under the terms of that agreement, Israel
was explicitly permitted to continue spending up to 26.3% of U.S. assistance on Israeli-manufactured equipment
(known as Off-Shore Procurement or OSP - discussed below). The agreement stated that “Both sides
acknowledge that these funding levels assume continuation of adequate levels for U.S. foreign assistance overall,
and are subject to the appropriation and availability of funds for these purposes.”28
The Current 10-Year Security Assistance Memorandum of
Understanding (MOU)
At a signing ceremony at the State Department on September 14, 2016, representatives of the
U.S. and Israeli governments signed another 10-year Memorandum of Understanding on military
aid covering FY2019 to FY2028. Under the terms of this third MOU, the United States pledges,
subject to congressional appropriation, to provide $38 billion in military aid ($33 billion in
Foreign Military Financing grants, plus $5 billion in defense appropriations for missile defense
programs) to Israel. According to the terms of the MOU, “Both the United States and Israel
jointly commit to respect the FMF levels specified in this MOU, and not to seek changes to the
FMF levels for the duration of this understanding.”29

27 See, Joint Statement by President Clinton and Prime Minister Ehud Barak, July 19, 1999. According to the statement,
“The United States and Israel will sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) which will express their joint
intention to restructure U.S. bilateral assistance to Israel. The MOU will state the United States’ intention to sustain its
annual military assistance to Israel, and incrementally increase its level by one-third over the next decade to a level of
$2.4 billion subject to Congressional consultations and approval. At the same time, the MOU will provide for a gradual
phase-out of U.S. economic aid to Israel, over a comparable period, as the Israeli economy grows more robust, less
dependent on foreign aid, and more integrated in world markets.”
28 United States-Israel Memorandum of Understanding, Signed by then U.S. Under Secretary of State R. Nicholas
Burns and Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs Director General Aaron Abramovich, August 16, 2007.
29 Memorandum of Understanding between the United States and Israel, September 14, 2016.
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Figure 1. Phasing Out Off-Shore Procurement (OSP) Under the MOU

Source: CRS.
The terms of the 2019-2028 MOU differ from previous agreements on issues such as
Phasing out Off-Shore Procurement (OSP). Under the terms of the third MOU,
OSP will decrease slowly until FY2024, but will then be phased out more
dramatically over the MOU’s last five years, ending entirely in FY2028 (see
Figure 1). The MOU calls on Israel to provide the United States with “detailed
programmatic information related to the use of all U.S. funding, including funds
used for OSP.” In response to the planned phase-out of OSP, some Israeli defense
contractors may be seeking to merge with U.S. companies or open U.S.
subsidiaries in order to continue their eligibility for defense contracts financed
through FMF.30
Missile Defense. Under the terms of the third MOU, the Administration pledges
to request $500 million in annual combined funding for missile defense programs
with joint U.S.-Israeli elements—such as Iron Dome, Arrow II and Arrow III, and
David’s Sling. Previous MOUs did not include missile defense funding, which
has traditionally been appropriated via separate interactions between successive
Administrations and Congresses. While the MOU commits both the United
States and Israel to a $500 million annual U.S. missile defense contribution, it
also stipulates that under exceptional circumstances (major armed conflict
involving Israel), both sides may agree on U.S. support above the $500 million
annual cap.

30 “Israeli UAV Firm agrees deal for Unnamed US Company,” Jane’s Defence Weekly, July 18, 2017.
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No FMF for Fuel. According to the third MOU, Israel will no longer be
permitted to use a portion of its FMF to purchase fuel (or “other consumables”)
from the United States. Under the second MOU, Israel had budgeted an estimated
$400 million a year in FMF to purchase jet fuel from the United States.
Congressional appropriators have indicated in annual foreign assistance
legislation that they support FMF used to subsidize Israeli purchases of U.S. jet
fuel.31 In July 2020, DSCA notified Congress of a major defense sale to Israel of
990 million gallons of Petroleum-based products, including jet fuel, for an
estimated cost of $3 billion.32
Figure 2. U.S. Military Aid to Israel over Decades

Source: CRS Graphics.
Notes: Figures included Foreign Military Financing only. Missile defense funds are not included. Figures are not
adjusted for inflation.
Foreign Military Financing (FMF) and Arms Sales
Israel is the largest recipient of U.S. Foreign Military Financing. For FY2021, the President’s
request for Israel would encompass approximately 59% of total requested FMF funding
worldwide. Annual FMF grants to Israel represent approximately 20% of the overall Israeli

31 The White House, Office of the Press Secretary, Fact Sheet: Memorandum of Understanding Reached with Israel,
September 14, 2016. In the Committee report accompanying H.R. 2839, the Department of State, Foreign Operations,
and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2020, appropriators wrote: “The Committee notes that Israel maintains the
flexibility under the MOU to purchase jet fuel from the United States.” See, H.Rept. 116-78 - State, Foreign
Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Bill, 2020. That same provision was reinserted into H.Rept. 116-444,
- State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Bill, 2021.
32 Defense Security Cooperation Agency, “Israel – Jp-8 Aviation Fuel, Diesel Fuel, and Unleaded Gasoline,”
Transmittal 20-44, July 6, 2020.
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defense budget.33 Israel’s defense expenditure as a percentage of its Gross Domestic Product
(5.3% in 2019) is one of the highest in the world.34
Cash Flow Financing
Section 23 of the Arms Export Control Act (22 U.S.C. §2763) authorizes the President to finance
the “procurement of defense articles, defense services, and design and construction services by
friendly foreign countries and international organizations, on such terms and conditions as he may
determine consistent with the requirements of this section.” Successive Administrations have used
this authority to permit Israel to finance multiyear purchases through installment payments, rather
than having to pay the full amount of such purchases up front.35 Known as “cash flow financing,”
this benefit enables Israel to negotiate major arms purchases with U.S. defense suppliers with
payments scheduled over a longer time horizon.36
Early Transfer and Interest Bearing Account
Since FY1991 (P.L. 101-513), Congress has mandated that Israel receive its FMF aid in a lump
sum during the first month of the fiscal year.37 The Further Consolidated Appropriations Act,
FY2020 (P.L. 116-94) states, “That of the funds appropriated under this heading, not less than
$3,300,000,000 shall be available for grants only for Israel which shall be disbursed within 30
days of enactment of this Act.” Once disbursed, Israel’s military aid is transferred to an interest
bearing account with the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank.38 Israel has used interest collected on its

33 The Israeli Ministry of Defense provides funding figures for its domestic defense budget but excludes some
procurement spending and spending on civil defense. The estimate referenced above is based on figures published by
Jane’s Defence Budgets, “Israel,” IHS Global Insight, May 15, 2020. Jane’s removes FMF from its Israeli defense
budget calculations to reflect how much Israel independently spends on defense.
34 Four other nations spend more on defense as a percentage of GDP: Saudi Arabia, Oman, Algeria, and Kuwait. See
Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), Military expenditure by country as percentage of gross
domestic product, 1988-2019, SIPRI Military Expenditure Database, 1949-2019.
35 The United States initially began authorizing installment-style sales to Israel to help it rebuild its military capabilities
after the 1973 war with Egypt and Syria. Congress appropriated $2.2 billion for Israel in P.L. 93-199, the Emergency
Security Assistance Act of 1973. Section 3 of that act stated that “Foreign military sales credits [loans or grants]
extended to Israel out of such funds shall be provided on such terms and conditions as the President may determine and
without regard to the provisions of the Foreign Military Sales Act as amended.” At the time, the Foreign Military Sales
Act of 1968 (amended in 1971 and the precursor to the Arms Export Control Act of 1976), capped the annual amount
of foreign military sales credit that could be extended to a recipient at no more than $250 million per year. Under the
authorities contained in P.L. 93-199, President Nixon, in two separate determinations (April & July 1974), allocated the
$2.2 billion to Israel as $1.5 billion in grant military aid, the largest U.S. grant aid package ever for Israel at the time.
The remaining $700 million was designated as a military loan.
A year and a half later, the Ford Administration reached a new arms sales agreement with Israel providing that,
according to the New York Times, “the cost of the new military equipment would be met through the large amount of
aid approved by the just-completed session of Congress as well as the aid that will be approved by future Congresses.”
See, “U.S. Decides to Sell Some Arms to Israel that it had Blocked in the Past,” New York Times, October 12, 1976.
36 Cash flow financing is defined in Section 25(d) of the Arms Export Control Act and Section 503(a)(3) of the Foreign
Assistance Act.
37 When government operations are funded by a continuing appropriations resolution, Congress may at times include
provisions in such resolutions that would prevent the early transfer of FMF to Israel (presumably until a final year
appropriations bill is passed). For example, see Section 109 of P.L. 113-46, the Continuing Appropriations Act, 2014.
38 According to the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA), “Some countries may establish an account with the
federal reserve bank (FRB), New York, for their FMS [Foreign Military Sales] deposits. An agreement between the
FMS purchaser’s defense organization, the purchaser’s central bank, FRB New York and DSCA identifies the terms,
conditions, and mechanics of the account’s operation. Countries receiving FMFP funds must maintain their interest
bearing account in the FRB.” See, Defense Institute of Security Assistance Management (DISAM), “The Management
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military aid to pay down its bilateral debt (nonguaranteed) to U.S. government agencies, which,
according to the U.S. Department of the Treasury, stood at $148.8 million as of December 2015.39
Israel cannot use accrued interest for defense procurement inside Israel.
F-35 Joint Strike Fighter
Israel is the first declared international operator of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.40 It has purchased
50 F-35s (called Adirs41) in three separate contracts (see Table 2) using Foreign Military
Financing grants. As of September 2020, Israel had received 27 of 50 jets, which they have
divided into two squadrons based at Nevatim Air Base in southern Israel.42 From there and
without any aerial refueling, Israel’s F-35s could strike targets in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan,
and most of Egypt, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia.43 To date, Israel reportedly has used its F-35
aircraft to conduct aerial strikes inside Syria.44
The Department of Defense’s F-35 program
is an international cooperative program in
Figure 3. U.S. and Israeli F-35s Fly in
which Israel (and Singapore) are considered
“security cooperation participants” outside of
Joint Exercise Enduring Lightning III (October 2020)
the F-35 cooperative development
partnership.45 As a result, Israel is not eligible
to assign staff to the F-35 Joint Program
Office in Washington and does not receive
full F-35 technical briefings.46 The United
States government and Lockheed Martin
retain exclusive access to the F-35’s software
code, which Israel cannot alter itself.

Source: U.S. Air Force

of Security Cooperation (Green Book),” 34th Edition, April 2015.
39 Foreign Credit Reporting System (FCRS), Amounts Due the U.S. Government from Sovereign and Other Foreign
Official Obligors as of 12/31/2015, United States Department of the Treasury, Office of International Debt Policy.
40 In September 2008, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) notified Congress of a possible Foreign
Military Sale of up to 75 F-35s to Israel in a deal with a possible total value of $15.2 billion. See, Defense Security
Cooperation Agency, Transmittal No. 08-83, Israel - F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Aircraft, September 29, 2008.
41 “After F-35 makes Aliyah, it will get new Israeli identity,” Israel Hayom, May 2, 2016. In Hebrew, “aliyah” refers to
geographical relocation to Israel. “Adir” is a Hebrew word for “mighty” or “powerful.”
42 Yaakov Lappin, “Israeli Air Force Favouring Additional F-35s,” Jane’s Defence Weekly, September 10, 2020.
43 Gareth Jennings, “Israel Declares F-35 to Be Operational,” Jane’s Defence Weekly, December 6, 2017.
44 “F-35 Stealth Fighter Sees First Combat, in Israeli Operation,” BBC News, May 22, 2018 and “Israel - Air Force,”
Jane's World Air Forces, July 5, 2019.
45 See CRS Report RL30563, F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) Program, by Jeremiah Gertler.
46 “Israel,” Jane's World Air Forces, September 1, 2020.
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However, Israel’s involvement in the F-35
program is still extensive, with Israeli
Figure 4. F-35 Helmet Mounted Display
companies making F-35 wing sets (IAI) and
Made by Israeli Manufacturer Elbit Systems
helmets (Elbit Systems). Israel also received
significant development access to the F-35
and the ability to customize its planes with
Israeli-made C4 (command, control,
communications, computers) systems, under
the condition that the software coding be done
by the United States. In 2018, the Navy
awarded Lockheed Martin a $148 million
contract for “the procurement of Israel-unique
weapons certification, modification kits, and

electronic warfare analysis.”47 Software
Source: Elbit Systems Ltd.
upgrades (called Block 3F+) added to the
Note: The F-35 Helmet Mounted Display is a joint
main computer of Israel’s F-35s does
venture between Elbit Systems and Rockwell Col ins.
reportedly facilitate the “use of Israeli-
designed electronic equipment and weaponry” thereby permitting Israel to “employ its own
external jamming pod and also allow internal carriage of indigenous air-to-air missiles and guided
In October 2020, the United States and Israel conducted their third Enduring Lightning joint
aviation exercise using the F-35. American and Israeli pilots trained together to counter both
surface and air adversaries, while supporting units assisted with refueling, radar, and opponent
KC-46A Pegasus
In March 2020, DSCA notified Congress of a planned sale to Israel of eight KC-46A Boeing
“Pegasus” aircraft for an estimated $2.4 billion.49 According to Boeing, the KC-46A Pegasus is a
multirole tanker (can carry passengers, fuel, and equipment) that can refuel all U.S. and allied
military aircraft. After Japan, Israel is the second country approved by the United States to
receive the KC-46A. The Israel Air Force’s current fleet of tankers was originally procured in the
1970s, and it is anticipated that Israel will be able to use the KC-46A to refuel its F-35 fighters.

47 U.S. Department of Defense, U.S. Navy, Contracts For February 2, 2018.
48 Gareth Jennings, “Israel Stands-Up Second F-35 Unit,” Jane's Defence Weekly, January 17, 2020.
49 Defense Security Cooperation Agency, Israel – KC-46A Aerial Refueling Aircraft, Transmittal No 20-12, March 3,
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Table 2. Selected Notified U.S. Foreign Military Sales to Israel50
Cong. Notice
Primary Contractor(s)
Estimated Cost
75 F-35A Joint Strike Fighter (Lightning
Lockheed Martin
$15.2 billion
II) Aircraft
JP-8 aviation fuel, diesel fuel, and
$2 bil ion
unleaded gasoline
600 AIM-9X-2 Sidewinder Block II Air-
$544 mil ion
air missiles and associated equipment
14,500 Joint Direct Attack Munitions
$1.879 bil ion
(JDAM) and associated equipment
Equipment to support Excess Defense
Science and Engineering
$300 mil ion
Articles sale of 8 SH-60F Sea Hawk
Services and General
13 76mm naval guns and technical
DRS North America
$440 mil ion
240 Namer armored personal carrier
MTU America
$238 mil ion
power packs and associated equipment
KC-46A aerial refueling aircraft
Boeing Corporation
$2.4 bil ion
JP-8 aviation fuel, diesel fuel, and
$3 bil ion
unleaded gasoline
Sources: Defense Security Cooperation Agency, Stockholm International Peace Research Institute Arms
Transfer Database, IHS Jane’s.
Notes: All figures and dates are approximate.
Excess Defense Articles
The Excess Defense Articles (EDA) program provides a means by which the United States can
advance foreign policy objectives—assisting friendly and allied nations through provision of
equipment in excess of the requirements of its own defense forces. This program, managed by
DSCA, enables the United States to reduce its inventory of outdated equipment by providing
friendly countries with necessary supplies at either reduced rates or no charge.51
As a designated “major non-NATO ally,”52 Israel is eligible to receive EDA under Section 516(a)
of the Foreign Assistance Act and Section 23(a) of the Arms Export Control Act. According to

50 For open source information on the status of Israeli procurement plans regarding key aircraft platforms such as F-
15IA, V-22 Osprey, and KC-46A, see “Israel - Air Force,” Jane’s World Air Forces, July 5, 2019.
51 To access DSCA’s Excess Defense Articles database, see http://www.dsca.mil/programs/eda.
52 On November 4, 1986, President Reagan signed into law P.L. 99-661, the National Defense Authorization Act for
FY1987. In Section 1105 of that act, Congress called for greater defense cooperation between the United States and
countries that the Secretary of Defense could designate as a “major non-NATO ally” (MNNA). Such cooperation could
entail U.S. funding for joint research and development and production of U.S. defense equipment. In February 1987,
the United States granted Israel MNNA status along with several other countries (Egypt, Japan, South Korea, and
Australia). According to press reports at the time, in the absence of a U.S.-Israeli mutual defense agreement, supporters
of Israel had been advocating for Israel to receive “equal treatment” with regard to certain special military benefits
(such as the ability to bid on U.S. defense contracts) that NATO allies received from the United States. See, “Israel
seeks to obtain the kind of Financial Aid that NATO Members get from U.S. Government,” Wall Street Journal,
February 3, 1987. Nearly a decade later, Congress passed additional legislation that further solidified Israel’s MNNA
status. In 1996, Section 147 of P.L. 104-164 amended the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 by requiring the President to
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DSCA, from 2010 to 2019, Israel received at least $385 million in EDA deliveries (current value
Defense Budget Appropriations for U.S.-Israeli
Missile Defense Programs
Congress and successive Administrations have demonstrated strong support for joint U.S.-Israeli
missile defense projects designed to thwart a diverse range of threats. Threats include short-range
missiles and rockets fired by nonstate actors, such as Hamas and Hezbollah, to mid- and longer-
range ballistic missiles in Syria’s and Iran’s arsenals.54 Congress provides regular U.S. funding
for Israeli and U.S.-Israeli missile defense programs in defense authorization and appropriations
bills. Israel and the United States each contribute financially to several weapons systems and
engage in co-development, co-production, and/or technology sharing in connection with them.
Since 2001, Israel and the United States have conducted a joint biennial ballistic missile defense
exercise, called Juniper Cobra, to work on integrating their weapons, radars, and other systems.55
The following section provides background on Israel’s four-layered active defense network: Iron
Dome (short range), David’s Sling (low to mid-range), Arrow II (upper-atmospheric), and Arrow
III (exo-atmospheric).
Iron Dome
Iron Dome is a short-range antirocket system (intercept range of 2.5 to 43 miles) developed by
Israel’s Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and originally produced in Israel. Iron Dome’s
targeting system and radar are designed to fire its Tamir interceptors only at incoming projectiles
that pose threats to the area being protected (generally, strategically important sites, including
population centers); it is not configured to fire on rockets headed toward unpopulated areas. Israel
can move Iron Dome batteries as threats change. Currently, Israel has ten Iron Dome batteries
deployed throughout the country, and each battery is designed to defend a 60-square-mile
populated area.56 As of January 2020, Iron Dome has carried out more than 2,400 operational

notify Congress 30 days before designating a country as a MNNA. According to the Act, Israel, along with several
other countries, “shall be deemed to have been so designated by the President as of the effective date of this section,
and the President is not required to notify the Congress of such designation of those countries.” See, 22 U.S.C. §2321j.
53 Excess Defense Articles Database Tool, Defense Security Cooperation Agency.
54 For background on mortar, rocket, and missile threats to Israel, see CRS Report R44017, Iran’s Foreign and Defense
, by Kenneth Katzman, CRS Report R41514, Hamas: Background and Issues for Congress, by Jim Zanotti, and
“Missiles and Rockets of Hezbollah,” Missile Threat, Center for Strategic and International Studies, June 26, 2018.
55 The United States and Israel also jointly conduct a military exercise known as Juniper Falcon, which is designed to
enhance interoperability between both nations’ militaries. In March 2019, the U.S. European Command (EUCOM)
deployed a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system to Israel to practice “operational procedures for
augmenting Israel's existing air and missile defense architecture.” See, USEUCOM deploys Terminal High Altitude
Area Defense (THAAD) system to Israel,” United States European Command, March 4, 2019.
56 Each battery has three launchers loaded with up to 20 Tamir interceptors per launcher for a total of 60 interceptors
per battery. See, https://www.raytheon.com/capabilities/products/irondome.
57Anna Ahronheim, “100% Success Rate in Trial for Advanced Iron Dome System,” Jerusalem Post, January 13, 2020.
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Figure 5. Iron Dome Launcher

Source: Raytheon.
Iron Dome’s Past Performance
Iron Dome was declared operational in 2011. Its first major test came in November 2012 during a
weeklong conflict (termed “Operation Pillar of Cloud/Defense” by Israel) between Israel and
various Palestinian militant groups, including Hamas. Israeli officials claim that Iron Dome
intercepted 85% of the more than 400 rockets fired by Gaza-based militants.58
Between 2012 and 2014, Israel upgraded Iron Dome’s various tracking and firing mechanisms.
During Israel’s 2014 conflict with Hamas and other Palestinian militants, media reports
(generally based on Israeli claims) seemed to indicate that Iron Dome had a successful
interception rate close to 90%.59 Five Israeli civilians were killed by rocket fire between July and
August 2014.
According to the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and Jane’s Defence Weekly, during a two-day
conflict in May 2019 with Palestinian militant groups in the Gaza Strip, Israel’s Iron Dome
achieved an 86% successful interception rate against rockets fired at urban areas.60 In that time
period, three Israelis were killed by rocket fire. A commander of the Qassam Brigades, the
military wing of Hamas, claimed during the May 2019 conflict that Hamas had “overcome the so-

58 One assessment concludes that Iron Dome’s initial performance in 2012 was less effective than Israel claims, but
subsequent improvements made Iron Dome perform far better. See, “As Missiles Fly, a Look at Israel’s Iron Dome
Interceptor,” The Conversation, April 15, 2018.
59 “Israel says Iron Dome scores 90 Percent Rocket Interception Rate,” Reuters, July 10, 2014.
60 “IDF Reports Good Iron Dome Performance,” Jane's Defence Weekly, May 9, 2019.
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called Iron Dome by adopting the tactic of firing dozens of rockets in a single burst…. The high
intensity of fire and the great destructive ability of the missiles… caused great losses and
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destruction to the enemy.”61 According to an assessment by Uzi Rubin, a former head of the Israel
Missile Defense Organization, Iron Dome “faced challenges it never did before, and it faced them
quite well… There is no 100% defense, never – it’s against the laws of physics…. Even if you
manage to hit every incoming missile, there’s Newton’s Law - even the debris must come
down.”62 In addition to Iron Dome, Israel also has extensive homeland security policies and alerts
designed to protect civilians, such as mobile phone applications that warn of incoming missiles,
bomb shelters in neighborhoods, and regulations requiring the construction of safe rooms in
homes near the Gaza border.63
Co-production and U.S. Funding
To date, the United States has provided $1.6 billion to Israel for Iron Dome batteries, interceptors,
co-production costs, and general maintenance (see Table 4). Because Iron Dome was developed
by Israel alone, Israel initially retained proprietary technology rights to it. The United States and
Israel have had a decades-long partnership in the development and co-production of other missile
defense systems (such as the Arrow). As the United States began financially supporting Israel’s
development of Iron Dome in FY2011, U.S. interest in ultimately becoming a partner in its co-
production grew. Congress then called for Iron Dome technology sharing and co-production with
the United States.64
In March 2014, the United States and Israeli governments signed a co-production agreement to
enable the manufacture of components of the Iron Dome system in the United States, while also
providing the U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA) with full access to what had been proprietary
Iron Dome technology.65 U.S.-based Raytheon is Rafael’s U.S. partner in the co-production of
Iron Dome.66
U.S. Army Procurement of Iron Dome
Ongoing U.S. efforts to acquire Iron Dome have come in the context of lawmakers’ concern over a lack of
capability to protect American soldiers deployed overseas from possible sophisticated cruise missile attacks.
Consequently, Congress directed the Army to take interim steps to procure additional systems.67 Section 112 of
P.L. 115-232, The John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019, required the Secretary
of Defense to certify whether there is a need for the U.S. Army to deploy an interim missile defense capability
(fixed-site, cruise missile defense capability) and, if so, to deploy additional batteries. In response to this mandate,
the U.S. Army evaluated several systems for its Expanded Mission Area Missile program (Iron Dome, Norwegian
Advanced Surface to Air Missile System, and IFPC Increment 2) and, in January 2019, chose to procure two Iron
Dome batteries from Rafael for a cost of $373 mil ion. The Army justified the purchase by referencing Iron
Dome’s high interception rate as well as the Tamir interceptor’s low cost relative to existing U.S. missile defense
systems.68 However, the Army so far has declined to purchase additional Iron Dome batteries. Reportedly, Israel
has refused to share Iron Dome’s source code with U.S. counterparts, who would like to customize and integrate
Iron Dome with other U.S. missile defense systems.69 The U.S. Marine Corps also is evaluating Iron Dome and has
not expressed the same desires as the Army about the system being interoperable with the Corps’ missile defense

61 “Hamas Military Wing says it 'outsmarted' Israel's Iron Dome during Deadly Gaza Flare-Up,” The New Arab, May 7,
62 “Assessing the Damage,” Jerusalem Post, May 10, 2019.
67 In 2018, some Members of Congress advocated for the selection of Iron Dome to protect U.S. troops deployed
abroad against threats emanating from Russia and North Korea. See, “Bipartisan House Letter requests Iron Dome Use
for US Army,” Jewish Telegraphic Agency, April 24, 2018.
68 “US Army Buys Israel’s Iron Dome for Tactical Missile Defense,” Jewish Policy Center, January 22, 2019.
69 Sydney J. Freedberg Jr., “Army Doubts Iron Dome Can Kill Cruise Missiles,” Breaking Defense, March 4, 2020.
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After Israel’s summer 2014 conflict with Hamas and other Palestinian militant groups, there was
high Israeli demand for additional Tamir interceptors, Iron Dome batteries, and the external
financing to procure these items.71 On September 30, 2014, Raytheon received a $149 million
contract from Rafael to provide parts for the Tamir interceptor. With U.S. co-production, around
60%-70% of the components of the Tamir interceptor are now manufactured in the United States
before final assembly in Israel.72 Israel also maintains the ability to manufacture Tamir
interceptors within Israel.
In December 2019, Israel agreed to export eight ELM-2084 Multi-Mission Radars (the radar
system used by Iron Dome) to the Czech Republic for $125 million. Israel has already exported
variants of the radar system to Canada, Singapore, Finland, and India.
David’s Sling
In August 2008, Israel and the United States officially signed a “project agreement” to co-develop
the David’s Sling system.73 David’s Sling (aka Magic Wand) is a short/medium-range system
designed to counter long-range rockets and slower-flying cruise missiles fired at ranges from 25
miles to 186 miles, such as those possessed by Iran, Syria, and Hezbollah in Lebanon. David’s
Sling is designed to intercept missiles with ranges and trajectories for which Iron Dome and/or
Arrow interceptors are not optimally configured. It has been developed jointly by Rafael
Advanced Defense Systems and Raytheon. David’s Sling uses Raytheon’s Stunner missile for
interception, and each launcher can hold up to 16 missiles. In April 2017, Israel declared David’s
Sling operational and, according to one analysis, “two David’s Sling batteries are sufficient to
cover the whole of Israel.”74

66 The FY2014 Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Resolution, P.L. 113-145, exempted $225 million in Iron
Dome funding—requested by Israel on an expedited basis during the summer 2014 Israel-Gaza conflict—from the co-
production requirements agreed upon in March 2014.
67 In 2018, some Members of Congress advocated for the selection of Iron Dome to protect U.S. troops deployed
abroad against threats emanating from Russia and North Korea. See, “Bipartisan House Letter requests Iron Dome Use
for US Army,” Jewish Telegraphic Agency, April 24, 2018.
68 “US Army Buys Israel’s Iron Dome for Tactical Missile Defense,” Jewish Policy Center, January 22, 2019.
69 Sydney J. Freedberg Jr., “Army Doubts Iron Dome Can Kill Cruise Missiles,” Breaking Defense, March 4, 2020.
70 Ashley Roque, “Congress Considering Mandating Additional US Army Iron Dome Buy,” Jane’s Defence Weekly,
May 7, 2020.
71 See, “Inside The Iron Dome,” Moment Magazine, July 17, 2018.
72 “Inside Iron Dome's Secret Manufacturing Plant,” Globes (Israel Business News), October 7, 2018.
73 This joint agreement is a Research, Development, Test and Evaluation (RDT&E) Framework agreement between the
United States and Israel. The joint program to implement the agreement is known as the Short Range Ballistic Missile
Defense (SRBMD) David’s Sling Weapon System (DSWS) Project. The Department of Defense/U.S.-Israeli
Cooperative Program Office manages the SRBMD/DSWS program, which is equitably funded between the United
States and Israel.
74 “IDF officially declares David’s Sling Operational,” Jane’s Defence Weekly, April 3, 2017.
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Israel first used David’s Sling in July 2018.
At the time, Syrian regime forces were
Figure 6. David’s Sling Launches Stunner
attempting to retake parts of southern Syria as
part of the ongoing conflict there. During the
fighting, Asad loyalists fired two SS-21
Tochka or ‘Scarab’ tactical ballistic missiles
at rebel forces, but the missiles veered into
Israeli territory. David’s Sling fired two
Stunner interceptors, but the final impact
point of the Syrian missiles changed mid-
flight, and Israel ordered one of the
interceptors to self-destruct; the other most
likely landed in Syrian territory.75 Chinese
media alleged that Asad regime forces
recovered the Stunner interceptor intact and
handed it over to Russia; the Israeli
government has not commented on this
Co-production and U.S. Funding
Since FY2006, the United States has
contributed over $1.9 billion to the
development of David’s Sling (see Table 4).
In June 2018, the United States and Israel
signed a co-production agreement for the

joint manufacture of the Stunner interceptor.
Source: Israel Ministry of Defense.
Some interceptor components are built in Tucson, Arizona, by Raytheon.
The Arrow and Arrow II
Under a 1986 agreement allowing Israel to participate in the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI),
the United States and Israel have co-developed different versions of the Arrow anti-ballistic
missile, and since 1988, Israel and the United States have engaged in joint development.77 The
Arrow is designed to counter short-range ballistic missiles. The United States has funded just
under half of the annual costs of the development of the Arrow Weapon System, with Israel
supplying the remainder. The total U.S. financial contribution (for all Arrow systems) exceeds

75 See, “Israel, US Complete Successful Advanced David's Sling Missile Tests,” Jerusalem Post, March 20, 2019, and
“David’s Sling has Dubious Debut against Syrian Missiles, Jane’s Defence Weekly, July 25, 2018.
76 Tyler Rogoway, “If an Israeli Stunner Missile Really Did Fall Into Russian Hands It Is a Huge Deal,” The Drive,
November 13, 2019.
77 Shortly after the start of the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) in 1985, the Reagan Administration sought allied
political support through various cooperative technology agreements on ballistic missile defense (BMD). A
memorandum of understanding was signed with Israel on May 6, 1986, to jointly develop an indigenous Israeli
capability to defend against ballistic missiles. Subsequently, a number of additional agreements were signed, including,
for example, an April 1989 Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) to develop an Israeli computer facility as part of the
Arrow BMD program, a June 1991 agreement to develop a second generation Arrow BMD capability, and a September
2008 agreement to develop a short-range BMD system to defend against very short-range missiles and rockets. Israeli
interest in BMD was strengthened by the missile war between Iran and Iraq in the later 1980s, and the experience of
being attacked by Scud missiles from Iraq during Operation Desert Storm in 1991.
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$3.7 billion (see Table 3). The system became operational in 2000 in Israel and has been tested
The Arrow II program (officially referred to as the Arrow System Improvement Program or
ASIP), a joint effort of Boeing and IAI, is designed to defeat longer-range ballistic missiles. One
Arrow II battery is designed to protect large swaths of Israeli territory. In March 2017, media
sources reported the first known use of the Arrow II, when they said that it successfully
intercepted a Syrian surface-to-air missile (SAM) that had been fired on an Israeli jet returning to
Israel from an operation inside Syria.
In August 2020, nearly 20 years after the first Arrow system became operational, Israel
successfully tested the Arrow II system. According to one account of the test, Arrow II
“successfully intercepted a Sparrow simulated long-range, surface-to-surface missile, which
could one day be fired at Israel by Iran...”78
Table 3. U.S. Contributions to the Arrow Program (Arrow, Arrow II, and Arrow III)
dollars in millions
Fiscal Year
Fiscal Year




Source: U.S. Missile Defense Agency.

High Altitude Missile Defense System (Arrow III)
Citing a potential nuclear threat from Iran, Israel has sought a missile interceptor that operates at
a higher altitude and greater range than the original Arrow systems. In October 2007, the United
States and Israel agreed to establish a committee to evaluate Israel’s proposed “Arrow III,” an
upper-tier system designed to intercept medium-range ballistic missiles outside the atmosphere.
The Arrow III is a more advanced version—in terms of speed, range and altitude—of the current
Arrow II interceptor. In 2008, Israel decided to begin development of the Arrow III and the

78 Anna Ahronheim, “Israel Successfully Carries out Arrow 2 Interception. Test Simulated Shooting Down of Long-
Range Missile, Including Possibly from Iran,” Jerusalem Post, August 14, 2020.
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United States agreed to co-fund its development despite an initial proposal by Lockheed Martin
and the Department of Defense (DOD) urging Israel to purchase the Terminal High-Altitude Area
Defense (THAAD) missile defense system instead. In March 2019, the United States deployed a
THAAD missile battery to Israel.
The Arrow III, made (like the Arrow II) by IAI and Boeing, has been operational since January
2017. In July 2010, the United States and Israel signed a bilateral agreement (The Upper-Tier
Interceptor Project Agreement) to extend their cooperation in developing and producing the
Arrow III, including an equitable U.S.-Israeli cost share. U.S.-Israeli co-production of Arrow III
components is ongoing.79 A U.S.-based subsidiary of IAI, Stark Aerospace Inc. based in
Columbus, Mississippi, is producing canisters for the Arrow III system. Since co-development
began in 2008, Congress has appropriated $1.1 billion for Arrow III (see Table 4). In January
2019, the United States and Israel conducted a successful test of Arrow III over the
Mediterranean, and in July 2019, Arrow III successfully intercepted targets in a series of tests at
the Pacific Spaceport Complex-Alaska (PSCA) in Kodiak, Alaska.
Table 4. Defense Budget Appropriations for U.S.-Israeli Missile Defense:
current dollars in millions
Arrow III
David’s Sling
Fiscal Year
Arrow II







FY2013 After
a. These funds were not appropriated by Congress but reprogrammed by the Obama Administration from
other Department of Defense accounts.

79 The United States and Israel signed the Arrow III co-production agreement in June 2019.
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Emergency U.S. Stockpile in Israel
In the early 1980s, Israeli leaders sought to expand what they called their “strategic
collaboration” with the U.S. military by inviting the United States to stockpile arms and
equipment at Israeli bases for American use in wartime.80 Beginning in 1984, the United States
began to stockpile military equipment in Israel, but only “single-use” armaments that could not be
used by the Israel Defense Forces.81 In 1989, the George H.W. Bush Administration decided to
alter the terms of the stockpile and provide Israel access to it in emergency situations.82 At the
time, the United States was attempting to sell Saudi Arabia M1A1 tanks, and U.S. officials sought
Israel’s acquiescence to the deal.
Section 514 of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 (22 U.S.C. §2321h) allows U.S. defense
articles stored in war reserve stocks to be transferred to a foreign government through Foreign
Military Sales or through grant military assistance, such as FMF. Congress limits the value of
assets transferred into War Reserves Stock Allies (WRSA) stockpiles located in foreign countries
in any fiscal year through authorizing legislation (see below). The U.S. retains title to the WRSA
stocks, and title must be subsequently transferred before the foreign country may use them.
The United States European Command
(EUCOM) manages the War Reserves Stock
Figure 7. Army Officers Inspect WRSA-I
Allies-Israel (WRSA-I) program. The United
States stores missiles, armored vehicles, and
artillery ammunition in Israel.83 According to
one Israeli officer, “Officially, all of this
equipment belongs to the US military…. If
however, there is a conflict, the IDF [Israel
Defense Forces] can ask for permission to use
some of the equipment.”84 According to one
expert, “WRSA-I is a strategic boon to Israel.
The process is streamlined: No 60-day
congressional notification is required, and

there’s no waiting on delivery.”85 In February
2019, as part of the bilateral military exercise
Source: 405th AFSB exercises War Reserve Stocks
for Allies transfer, DVIDS, Defense Visual Information
Juniper Falcon 2019, officers from the 405th
Distribution Service, February 28, 2019.
Army Field Support Brigade simulated a
transfer of munitions from the WRSA-I to Israeli Defense Forces control.
Since 1989, Israel has requested access to the stockpile on at least two occasions, including:

80 “U.S. - Israel Strategic Link: Both Sides Take Stock,” New York Times, October 2, 1981.
81 “U.S. Tells Israel it Plans to Sell Saudis 300 Tanks,” New York Times, September 29, 1989.
82 In October 1989, the United States and Israel agreed to pre-position $100 million worth of dual-use defense
equipment in Israel.
83 At present, the United States and Israel have a bilateral agreement that governs the storage, maintenance, in-country
transit, and other WRSA-related costs. The government of Israel, using both its national funds and FMF, pays for the
construction, maintenance and refurbishment costs of WRSA ammunition storage facilities. It also pays for the
packaging, crating, handling and transportation of armaments to and from the stockpile. In any future expedited
procedure, reserve stocks managed by EUCOM could be transferred to Israel; then, U.S. officials would create an-after-
the-fact Foreign Military Sale to account for the transferred equipment.
84 “US may give Israel Iraq Ammo,” Jerusalem Post, February 11, 2010.
85 “Best Friends Don’t Have to Ask,” Politico Magazine, August 14, 2014.
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 During the summer 2006 war between Israel and Hezbollah, Israel requested that
the United States expedite the delivery of precision-guided munitions to Israel. In
order to accomplish this, the George W. Bush Administration did not use the
emergency authority codified in the Arms Export Control Act (AECA), but rather
allowed Israel to access the WRSA-I stockpile.
 In July 2014, during Israeli military operations against Hamas in the Gaza Strip,
the Defense Department permitted Israel to draw from the stockpile, paid with
FMF, to replenish 120-mm tank rounds and 40-mm illumination rounds fired
from grenade launchers.86
Section 7049(b)(4) of P.L. 116-6, the FY2019 Consolidated Appropriations Act, extended the
authorization of WRSA-I through FY2020.87 Section 1273 of P.L. 115-232, the John S. McCain
National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019, extended the authority for WRSA-I
through FY2023.
At times, Congress has passed legislation that has authorized EUCOM to increase the value of
materiel stored in Israel. According to DSCA, “It should be understood that no new procurements
are involved in establishing and maintaining these stockpiles. Rather, the defense articles used to
establish a stockpile and the annual authorized additions represent defense articles that are
already within the stocks of the U.S. armed forces. The stockpile authorizing legislation simply
identifies a level of value for which a stockpile may be established or increased.”88
Stockpiling Precision-Guided Munitions for Israel
Since 2014, Israel has requested that the United States military increase its own stockpile of precision-guided
munitions (PGMs) stored in Israel for possible Israeli emergency use against Hezbol ah, Hamas, and other terrorist
groups. Section 1273 of P.L. 115-232, the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year
2019, authorizes the President to conduct a joint assessment of the quantity and type of PGMs necessary for Israel
in the event of a prolonged war. If such an assessment is completed, Section 1273 requires that the Administration
share its assessment with Congress. In 2015, DSCA notified Congress of possible foreign military sales to Israel
for Joint Direct Attack Munition Tail Kits, munitions, and associated equipment, parts and logistical support for an
estimated cost of $1.879 bil ion (see Table 2 above).
If EUCOM has contributed the maximum amount legally permitted in each applicable fiscal year,
then the non-inflation adjusted value of materiel stored in Israel would currently stand at $3.4
. The following legislation authorized increases in value to the stockpile:
 FY1990: P.L. 101-167, the Foreign Operations, Export Financing, and Related
Programs Appropriations Act, 1990, provided $165 million for all stockpile
programs and expanded their locations to include Korea, Thailand, NATO
members, and countries which were then major non-NATO allies (Australia,
Japan, Korea, Israel and Egypt). Although the Act did not specify funds for
Israel, of the $165 million appropriated, $10 million was for Thailand, $55
million was for South Korea, and $100 million was intended as an initial
authorization for Israel.89

86 “U.S. Defends Supplying Israel Ammunition during Gaza Conflict,” Reuters, July 31, 2014.
87 The authorization extension states that “Section 12001(d) of the Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2005
(P.L. 109-108–287; 118 Stat. 1011) is amended by striking ‘2018’ and inserting ‘2019.’”
88 Defense Institute of Security Assistance Management (DISAM), DISAM’s Online Greenbook, Chapter 2, Security
Legislation and Policy.
89 Dr. Louis J. Samelson, “Military Assistance Legislation for Fiscal Year 1990,” The DISAM Journal, Winter,
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 FY1991: P.L. 101-513, the Foreign Operations, Export Financing, and Related
Programs Appropriations Act for FY1991, authorized additions to defense
articles in Israel “not less than” $300 million in value for FY1991.
 FY1993: P.L. 102-391, the Foreign Operations, Export Financing, and Related
Programs Appropriations Act for FY1993, authorized additions to defense
articles in Israel “not less than” $200 million in value for FY1993.
 FY1994: P.L. 103-87, the Foreign Operations, Export Financing, and Related
Programs Appropriations Act for FY1994, authorized additions to defense
articles in Israel up to $200 million in value for FY1994.
 FY1995: P.L. 103-306, the Foreign Operations, Export Financing, and Related
Programs Appropriations Act for FY1995, authorized a total addition to defense
articles in Israel of $200 million for FYs 1994 and 1995.
 FY2007-FY2008: Section 13(a)(2)(A)(i) of the Department of State Authorities
Act of 2006 (P.L. 109-472) amended Section 514 of the Foreign Assistance Act
of 1961, as amended (P.L. 87-195; 22 U.S.C. §2321h) to authorize additions to
defense articles in Israel of up to $200 million in value for each of FY2007 and
 FY2011-FY2012: P.L. 111-266, the Security Cooperation Act of 2010, authorized
additions to defense articles in Israel up to $200 million in value for each of
FY2011 and FY2012.
 FY2014-FY2015: P.L. 113-296, the United States-Israel Strategic Partnership Act
of 2014, authorized additions to defense articles in Israel up to $200 million in
value for each of FY2014 and FY2015.
 FY2016-FY2017: Section 7034(k)(11)(B) of P.L. 114-113, the FY2016
Consolidated Appropriations Act, authorized additions to defense articles in
Israel up to $200 million in value for each of FY2016 and FY2017.
 FY2018-FY2019: Section 7034(l)(7) of P.L. 115-141, the FY2018 Consolidated
Appropriations Act, authorized additions to defense articles in Israel up to $200
million in value for each of FY2018 and FY2019.
 FY2019-FY2020: Section 7048(b)(4)(B) of P.L. 116-6, the FY2019 Consolidated
Appropriations Act, authorized additions to defense articles in Israel up to $200
million in value for each of FY2019 and FY2020.
Defense Budget Appropriations/Authorization for
Anti-Tunnel Defense
In 2016, the Israeli and U.S. governments began collaborating on a new system to detect
underground smuggling tunnels and to counter cross-border tunnels used (most prominently by
Hamas in the summer 2014 conflict) to infiltrate Israel. Reportedly, this technology uses acoustic
or seismic sensors and software to detect the sounds of digging by monitoring vibrations

90 This increase for each fiscal year is based on legislative language contained in Section 12002 of P.L. 108-287, the
Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2005.
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underground.91 This technology may be based on discovery techniques used in the oil and natural
gas sector.92
Section 1279 of P.L. 114-92, the FY2016 National Defense Authorization Act, authorized the
establishment of a U.S.-Israeli anti-tunnel cooperation program.93 This authorization allowed
funds from the research, development, test, and evaluation defense-wide account to be used (in
combination with Israeli funds) to establish anti-tunnel capabilities that detect, map, and
neutralize underground tunnels that threaten the United States or Israel. The authorization
requires the Secretary of Defense to report to Congress on, among other things, the sharing of
research and development costs between the United States and Israel.
Table 5. U.S.-Israeli Anti-Tunnel Cooperation
current U.S. dollars in millions
Fiscal Year
Source: Joint Explanatory Statement accompanying Consolidated Appropriations Acts for FY2016-2018. For
FY2021, Congress is considering providing $47.5 mil ion.
Defense Budget Appropriations/Authorization for
Countering Unmanned Aerial Systems
As unmanned aerial vehicle technology has proliferated across the Middle East, Israel has sought
U.S. assistance in countering various systems used by state and non-state actors alike. In order to
counter unmanned drones, States are researching various methods to detect incoming unmanned
aircraft (using radio or optical sensors) and then either disabling, destroying, or even seizing them
by either jamming their communications, intercepting their flight paths, or hacking their
electronic systems.94
Congress first authorized a cooperative U.S.-Israeli Counter Unmanned Aerial Systems (C-UAS)
program by expanding the scope of the anti-tunnel cooperation program (see “Defense Budget
Appropriations for U.S.-Israeli Missile Defense Programs”
). Then, in the FY2020 NDAA (P.L.
116-92), Congress created a separate authority (Section 1278), which authorized the Secretary of
Defense to “carry out research, development, test, and evaluation activities, on a joint basis with
Israel, to establish capabilities for countering unmanned aerial systems that threaten the United

91 “Israel’s Underground War—Technology and Specialist Troops deployed in face of Subterranean Threat,” Wall
Street Journal
, March 2, 2016.
92 “Israeli Official bets Advances in Anti-Tunnel Technology will secure Gaza Border,” Washington Post, March 6,
93 Section 1279 of P.L. 116-92, the FY2020 National Defense Authorization Act, extended the authority of the anti-
tunnel cooperation program through December 31, 2024.
94 Ilan Ben Zion, “As Attack Drones Multiply, Israeli Firms Develop Defenses,” Associated Press, September 26, 2019.
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States or Israel.” Section 1278 requires a matching contribution from the government of Israel
and caps the annual U.S. contribution at $25 million. Congress authorized the program through
For FY2020, the Joint Explanatory Statement accompanying P.L. 116-93, the Consolidated
Appropriations Act, 2020, included $13 million under “Combatting Terrorism Technology
Support” for the C-UAS program. For FY2021, H.Rept. 116-453 accompanying H.R. 7617, the
FY2021 Defense Appropriations bill, would provide $25 million for C-UAS under Combatting
Terrorism Technology Support.”
Aid Restrictions and Possible Violations
U.S. aid and arms sales to Israel, like those to other foreign recipients, are subject to U.S. law.
Some U.S. citizens and interest groups periodically call upon Congress to ensure that U.S.
military assistance to Israel is conditioned on the Israeli government’s compliance with applicable
U.S. laws and policies and with international humanitarian law.
Arms Sales and Use of U.S.-Supplied Equipment95
The 1952 Mutual Defense Assistance Agreement and subsequent arms agreements between Israel
and the United States limit Israel’s use of U.S. military equipment to defensive purposes.96 The
Arms Export Control Act (AECA, 22 U.S.C. §2754) authorizes the sale of U.S. defense articles
and services for specific purposes, including “legitimate self-defense.”97 The AECA (22 U.S.C.
§2753) states that recipients may not use such articles “for purposes other than those for which
[they have been] furnished” without prior presidential consent.98 The Act stipulates that sale
agreements entered into after November 29, 1999, must grant the U.S. government the right to
verify “credible reports” that articles have been used for unauthorized purposes. The Foreign

95 See, CRS In Focus IF11197, U.S. Arms Sales and Human Rights: Legislative Basis and Frequently Asked Questions,
by Paul K. Kerr and Liana W. Rosen.
96 U.S. State Department, Treaties in Force, Agreement relating to mutual defense assistance, Entered into force July
23, 1952; TIAS 2675.
97 Pursuant to the AECA, when Israel, like other foreign nations, purchases U.S. defense articles and services, it must
sign a Letter of Offer and Acceptance (LOA) with the United States government. The LOA lists the items and/or
services, estimated costs, and the terms and conditions of sale. Unless otherwise specified, the standard terms and
conditions for Israel are consistent with the general terms for all U.S. arms sales abroad. These terms and conditions
permit the use of items acquired: for internal security; for legitimate self-defense; for preventing or hindering the
proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and of the means of delivering such weapons; to permit the Purchaser to
participate in regional or collective arrangements or measures consistent with the Charter of the United Nations, or
otherwise to permit the Purchaser to participate in collective measures requested by the United Nations for the purpose
of maintaining or restoring international peace security; for the purpose of enabling foreign military forces in less
developed countries to construct public works and to engage in other activities helpful to social and economic
development; for purposes specified in any Mutual Defense Assistance Agreement between the USG and the
Purchaser; or, for purposes specified in any other bilateral or regional defense agreement to which the USG and the
Purchaser are both parties. For a sample LOA, see Defense Security Cooperation Agency, Security Assistance
Management Manual, available online at: [https://www.samm.dsca.mil/figure/figure-c5f4]
98 Nevertheless, in 22 U.S.C. 2753, the AECA also states that the consent of the President shall not be required for the
transfer by a foreign country or international organization of defense articles sold by the United States if the recipient is
the government of a member country of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the Government of Australia, the
Government of Japan, the Government of the Republic of Korea, the Government of Israel, or the Government of New
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Assistance Act (FAA) of 1961, as amended, also contains general provisions on the use of U.S.-
supplied military equipment.99
It is the statutory responsibility of the Departments of State and Defense, pursuant to the AECA,
to conduct end-use monitoring (EUM) to ensure that recipients of U.S. defense articles use such
items solely for their intended purposes. The AECA also provides authority to the President
(through a presidential determination) and Congress (joint resolution) to prohibit the sale or
delivery of U.S.-origin defense articles to a recipient country if it has used such articles “for a
purpose not authorized” by the AECA or the FAA.100
Questions over the misuse of U.S.-supplied equipment to Israel have arisen in several instances in
past decades, including over the sale of tear gas to Israel during the late 1980s,101 the sale of
Caterpillar D-9 bulldozers to Israel allegedly used in the destruction of Palestinian homes,102 and
Israel's use of U.S.-supplied cluster munitions in Lebanon.103
In March 2020, 64 Representatives wrote a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo posing a
series of questions,104 out of concern that Israel may have been using U.S.-origin construction
equipment to demolish the homes of Palestinians that Israel has accused of committing
terrorism.105 The Members specifically requested “an examination of Israeli compliance with the
requirements applied to recipients of U.S.-origin defense articles pursuant to the Arms Export
Control Act of 1976 (AECA) as amended [22 U.S.C. 2751, et. seq.]” and “a determination as to
whether a report to Congress on this issue is required by section 3(c)(2) of AECA [22 U.S.C.
Human Rights Vetting (Leahy Law)106
Section 620M of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 (FAA), as amended, prohibits the furnishing
of assistance authorized by the FAA and the AECA to any foreign security force unit where there
is credible information that the unit has committed a gross violation of human rights. The State
Department and U.S. embassies overseas implement Leahy vetting to determine which foreign
security individuals and units are eligible to receive U.S. assistance or training.
In February 2016, Senator Leahy and 10 other Members of Congress sent a letter to then-
Secretary of State John Kerry asking the State Department to determine whether alleged

99 For example, see (among other sections), Section 502B, Human Rights (22 U.S.C. 2304), Section 505, Conditions of
Eligibility (22 U.S.C. §2314), and Section 511, Considerations in Furnishing Military Assistance (22 U.S.C. §2321d).
100 See CRS In Focus IF11533, Modifying or Ending Sales of U.S.-Origin Defense Articles, by Paul K. Kerr and Liana
W. Rosen, and CRS In Focus IF10392, Foreign Military Sales Congressional Review Process, by Paul K. Kerr.
101 See Government Accountability Office, Israel: Use of U.S.-Manufactured Tear Gas in the Occupied Territories,
NSIAD-89-128, April 13, 1989.
102 CORRIE v. CATERPILLAR INC, United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit, filed March 15, 2005.
103 See, U.S. Department of State, “U.S. Cluster Munitions Policy,” Stephen D. Mull, Acting Assistant Secretary for
Political-Military Affairs, On-the-Record Briefing, May 21, 2008.
104 Press Release, “Release: Khanna, Cohen, Eshoo Lead Letter Urging Administration to Oppose the Displacement of
Palestinian Families and Ensure U.S. Equipment is not used in West Bank Home Demolitions,” March 16, 2020. For
background on Israel’s policy of home demolition, see “Rare Israeli Ruling against Practice of Demolishing Homes of
Palestinians Accused of Violence,” Washington Post, August 19, 2020.
105 For background on Israel’s policy of home demolition, see “Rare Israeli Ruling against Practice of Demolishing
Homes of Palestinians Accused of Violence,” Washington Post, August 19, 2020.
106 For background on the Leahy Law, see CRS Report R43361, “Leahy Law” Human Rights Provisions and Security
Assistance: Issue Overview
, coordinated by Nina M. Serafino.
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extrajudicial killings or torture by Israeli military and police (and Egypt separately) should trigger
Leahy law restrictions.107 In its response to Congress, the State Department stated that no Israeli
individual or unit potentially involved in the letter’s alleged incidents had been submitted to
receive U.S. assistance.108
H.R. 2407 - Promoting Human Rights for Palestinian Children Living Under Israeli
Military Occupation Act
In the 115th Congress, Representative Betty McCol um introduced a bil , H.R. 4391, Promoting Human Rights by
Ending Israeli Military Detention of Palestinian Children Act, that would have, among other things, prohibited U.S.
assistance to Israel (notwithstanding any other provision of law) from being used to support the military detention,
interrogation, or il -treatment of Palestinian children in violation of international humanitarian law. This bil was
referred to the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and it did not see further committee or floor action.
In the 116th Congress, Representative McCol um introduced an amended version of the legislation (H.R. 2407),
that, rather than specifically addressing U.S. military assistance to Israel, would alter Section 620M of the Foreign
Assistance Act of 1961 (22 U.S.C. 2378d; commonly known as the “Leahy Law”) by prohibiting foreign assistance
to a foreign country that may be used to support the military detention, interrogation, abuse, or il -treatment of
children in violation of international humanitarian law. H.R. 2407 also would authorize $19 mil ion each year for
non-governmental organizations monitoring possible human rights abuses associated with reported Israeli military
detention of Palestinian children. Gross violations of internationally recognized human rights are currently defined
in Section 502B(d)(1) of the FAA (22 U.S.C. 2304(d)(1)) to include: “torture or cruel, inhuman, or degrading
treatment or punishment, prolonged detention without charges and trial, causing the disappearance of persons by
the abduction and clandestine detention of those persons, and other flagrant denial of the right to life, liberty, or
the security of person.” The U.S. State Department currently issues annual Country Reports on Human Rights
Practices that regularly reference non-government sources.109
Use of U.S. Funds Within Israel’s Pre-June 1967 Borders
In some instances, U.S. assistance to Israel may be used only in areas subject to the
administration of Israel prior to June 1967 (see “Loan Guarantees”). For example, U.S. State
Department-provided MRA assistance (see “Migration & Refugee Assistance”), per agreement
between the State Department and United Israel Appeal, may only be used for absorption centers,
ulpanim (intensive Hebrew-language schools with particular focus on immigrants to Israel), or
youth aliyah (relocation to Israel) institutions located within Israel’s pre-June 1967 area of
Until recently, no program funded by the endowments of U.S.-Israeli binational foundations (see
“U.S.-Israeli Scientific & Business Cooperation”) could be “conducted in geographic areas which
came under the administration of the Government of Israel after June 5, 1967, and may not relate
to subjects primarily pertinent to such areas.”111 In October 2020, the Trump Administration

107 The letter’s text is available at http://www.politico.com/f/?id=00000153-c56c-d662-a75b-cfecc6be0000.
108 See the text of then Assistant Secretary of State for Legislative Affairs Julia Frifield’s April 18, 2016, response letter
to Representative Henry C. Johnson at http://www.politico.com/f/?id=00000154-7c2f-d905-a357-7c7f04750000.
109 For the latest report on Israel, Golan Heights, West Bank, and Gaza, including information on Israeli military law
and detention of Palestinian prisoners (adults and minors), see: https://www.state.gov/reports/2018-country-reports-on-
110 This stipulation is found in grant agreements between the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees,
and Migration (PRM) and United Israel Appeal (clause 8. F. 2 – Use in Territories Subject to the Administration of the
State of Israel Prior to June 1967). The FY2013 agreement (S-PRMCO-13-GR-1041 – March 13, 2013) is for $15
million. CRS Correspondence with U.S. State Department, March 2014.
111 See “Regulations” document at: http://www.bsf.org.il/BSFPublic/DefaultPage1.aspx?PageId=221&innerTextID=
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announced that it had removed geographic restrictions from the founding agreements establishing
the three main U.S.-Israeli binational foundations (BIRD, BARD, BSF), thereby permitting
universities in the West Bank to apply for grant funding.112
Annexation and U.S. Foreign Aid to Israel
During part of 2020, after Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu formed a coalition
government to end more than a year of political uncertainty in Israel, he considered unilaterally
annexing parts of the West Bank in order to fulfill earlier campaign pledges to his supporters.113
The May 2020 power sharing agreement with Defense Minister Benny Gantz authorized
Netanyahu to present the issue of annexation before either the cabinet or Knesset for a vote, but
only after July 1, 2020. In August 2020, the United Arab Emirates and Israel publicly announced
that they had, in principle, reached an agreement, whereby the UAE would normalize diplomatic
relations with Israel in exchange for Israel suspending its annexation plans.114 Both sides reached
a formal diplomatic agreement, known as the Abraham Accords, in September 2020 and, since
then, the issue of annexation has remained tabled.
During spring and summer 2020, before the issue of annexation was put aside, some Democrats
in Congress took various steps to signal their opposition to Israel’s planned annexation of parts of
the West Bank. In the House, 191 Democrats (81% of the Democratic Caucus) wrote a letter to
Israeli leaders that expressed their “deep concern” with annexation plans and urged the Israeli
government to reconsider.115 Another letter, addressed to Secretary Pompeo, warned U.S. officials
that if Israel proceeded with annexation, the 12 House signatories and one Senator were prepared
ensure non-recognition of annexed territories as well as pursue legislation that conditions
the $3.8 billion in U.S. military funding to Israel to ensure that U.S. taxpayers are not
supporting annexation in any way. We will include human rights conditions and the
withholding of funds for the offshore procurement of Israeli weapons equal to or exceeding
the amount the Israeli government spends annually to fund settlements, as well as the
policies and practices that sustain and enable them.116
In August 2020, Representative Betty McCollum introduced H.R. 8050, the Israeli Annexation
Non-Recognition Act, which would, among other things, prohibit FMF and other defense funds
from being used to support certain activities in West Bank territory that had been unilaterally
annexed by Israel.
In the Senate, 19 Senate Democrats sent a May 2020 letter to Israeli leaders warning them that if
they moved annexation forward, “we would not support that action. This is consistent with long-
standing American policy opposing unilateral actions by either party to the conflict.”117 Then

112 Noa Landau, Hagar Shezaf, and Shira Kadari-Ovadia, “Netanyahu, Ambassador Friedman Ink Deal Expanding
Scientific Cooperation to Settlements,” Ha’aretz, October 28, 2020.
113 For additional background, see CRS Report R46433, Israel’s Possible Annexation of West Bank Areas: Frequently
Asked Questions
, by Jim Zanotti.
114 For additional background, see CRS Insight IN11485, Israel-UAE Normalization and Suspension of West Bank
, by Jim Zanotti and Kenneth Katzman.
115 Congressman Ted Deutch, Press Releases, 191 House Members Express Concern over Push for Unilateral
Annexation in Israel, June 25, 2020.
116 Available online at: https://ocasio-cortez.house.gov/sites/ocasio-
117 Senator Chris Van Hollen, Press Releases, “Van Hollen, Murphy, Kaine, Senate Democrats Caution Israel Against
Unilateral Annexation of West Bank Territory,” May 21, 2020. Reportedly, an earlier draft of the letter, had been more
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Senator Van Hollen filed an amendment to S. 4049, the Senate’s version of the National Defense
Authorization Act for FY2021, which would have prohibited funds authorized in the bill, or any
other Act, from being used to “support the deployment of United States defense articles, services,
or training to territories in the West Bank unilaterally annexed by Israel after July 1, 2020, or to
facilitate the unilateral annexation of such territories.”118 The amendment was not made in order
during Senate consideration of the FY2021 NDAA.119
Israeli Arms Transfers to Third Parties
Per Section §3(a) of the Arms Export Control Act (AECA - 22 U.S. Code §2753) and Section
505(e) of the Foreign Assistance Act (22 U.S. Code §2314), the U.S. government must review
and approve any transfer of U.S.-origin equipment from a recipient to a third party that was not
previously authorized in the original acquisition.120 Third Party Transfer (or TPT) is the retransfer
of title, physical possession or control of defense articles from the authorized recipient to any
person or organization not an employee, officer or agent of that recipient country.121
As previously mentioned, Israel is a major global manufacturer of armaments. Yet, it also
possesses significant quantities of major U.S.-origin defense equipment stemming from its
decades-old security partnership with the United States. At times, third parties have sought to
procure U.S. equipment used by Israel, and U.S.-Israel differences over approval of retransfer has
at times caused friction in the bilateral relationship. For example, in 2017, Croatia solicited bids
for the procurement of fighter aircraft and, a year later, chose to purchase 12 used F-16 Barak
fighters from Israel in a deal worth an estimated $500 million, conditioned on U.S. TPT approval.
In December 2018, the Trump Administration notified Congress that it had approved the sale, but
only if all Israeli modifications were removed beforehand. Reportedly, Croatia did not want the F-
16s returned to their original condition, and the deal was cancelled despite high level negotiations
between Israeli and U.S. officials.122
Israel and China
Amidst ongoing global U.S.-Chinese competition in various fields, Israel’s defense and
technology trade with China has at times come under U.S. scrutiny.123 Since the middle of the last

critical in tone. See, Melissa Weiss, “Scoop: Senators Back Away from Threatening Israel with End of Bipartisan
Support,” Jewish Insider, May 10, 2020.
118 Senator Chis Van Hollen, Press Releases, “Van Hollen, Senate Democrats File NDAA Amendment Prohibiting U.S.
Funds from Supporting Israeli Annexation of the West Bank,” July 2, 2020.
119 In a floor speech, Senator Van Hollen defended the purpose of the amendment against those who claimed that the
Senator would have suspended U.S. missile defense funding to Israel (Iron Dome is not a U.S. defense article). He
remarked: “As I explained in my floor statement at the time of its introduction, the amendment would not have reduced
U.S. security assistance to Israel by a single penny. It would simply have ensured that no U.S. security assistance could
be used for the purpose of unilaterally annexing territory in the West Bank. Furthermore, nothing in this amendment
would have prohibited Israel from using U.S.-financed missile defense systems such as Iron Dome to defend against
attacks in any territories that could be unilaterally annexed by the Israeli Government.” See, Senate Speeches and
Inserts, Page S.4663, Congressional Record, August 3, 2020.
120 See, U.S. State Department, “Third Party Transfer Process and Documentation,” Bureau of Political-Military
Affairs, December 17, 2018.
121 See, Defense Institute of Security Cooperation Studies, “The Management of Security Cooperation (Green Book),”
Edition 39, January 2019.
122 “Croatia cancels F-16 Deal with Israel due to U.S. Objections,” Axios, January 10, 2019.
123 See, “The Evolving Israel-China Relationship,” RAND Corporation, 2019.
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decade, Israeli defense exports to China have nearly ceased. Two planned Israeli sales to China
drew significant opposition both from successive Administrations and from Congress
(PHALCON airborne radar systems in 2000 and upgrade of Chinese Harpy Killer drone aircraft
in 2004/2005).124 As a result of U.S. pressure on Israel to cease its long-standing and sometimes
clandestine defense relationship with China, Israel created its own arms export control agency,
known as the Defense Export Control Agency (DECA). In addition, the United States and Israel
signed a 2005 bilateral agreement, known as the “Declaration of Understanding on Technology
Exports,” whereby both countries pledged to ensure defense export transparency, with the United
States pledging not to ban Israel’s defense deals on commercial grounds to ensure Israeli
competitiveness globally.125
Though Israeli-Chinese defense ties have essentially ended, China is now Israel’s second largest
single-state trading partner (after the United States), and there is still some concern that Israeli
technology transfer in the commercial sphere will be used by China to compete with the United
States and potentially threaten its national security in various fields, such as cybersecurity,
artificial intelligence, and robotics.126 According to one analyst, “Since they cannot buy defense
equipment from Israel, Chinese companies with links to the country’s military have looked to
civilian technologies instead, particularly those adaptable to military use.”127 Partly due to U.S.
concerns regarding China’s involvement in Israel’s economy, Israel created an advisory panel on
foreign investment in Israel in late 2019.128 However, this panel reportedly does not have the
authority to review investments in sectors such as high-tech that accounted for most of China’s
investments in Israel in the previous decade.129 Apparently, debate continues within Israel’s
government about how to balance economic interests with national security concerns.130
Chinese investment in Israel also has raised some concern within the Administration and
Congress. Section 1289 of P.L. 116-92, the National Defense Authorization Act for FY2020,
expressed a sense of the Senate that the United States government should “urge the Government
of Israel to consider the security implications of foreign investment in Israel.” According to one
Israeli analysis, President Trump reportedly warned Prime Minister Netanyahu in March 2019
that U.S. security assistance for and cooperation with Israel could be limited if Chinese
companies establish a 5G communications network in Israel, in line with similar warnings that
the Administration has communicated to other U.S. allies and partners.131 Additionally, a state-
owned Chinese company (the Shanghai International Port Group) has secured the contract to

124 In 2000, Representative Sonny Callahan of Alabama, then Chairman of the Foreign Operations Subcommittee of the
House Appropriations Committee, told a hearing on April 6, 2000, that he would block $250 million in FY2001
military assistance to Israel unless Israel cancelled the PHALCON sale to China. Representative Callahan offered an
amendment during a June 20 subcommittee markup to withhold $250 million from the $2.88 billion in total economic
and military assistance proposed for Israel for FY2001, but the amendment failed by a vote of nine to six. See, “Israel-
China Radar Deal Opposed,” Washington Post, April 7, 2000 and “U.S. Congressman: We’ll Block Israeli Aid Unless
China Deal Cancelled,” Jerusalem Post, April 7, 2000.
125 “Israel, U.S. Draft Agreement for Openness, Equality in Arms Deals,” Ha’aretz, June 27, 2005.
126 “China Tech Push in Israel Stirs Security Fears,” Wall Street Journal, February 12, 2019.
127 “Israel and China Take a Leap Forward—but to Where?” Mosaic, November 5, 2018.
128 Arie Egozi, “Israelis Create Foreign Investment Overseer; China Targeted,” Breaking Defense, November 13, 2019.
129 Shira Efron, et al., Chinese Investment in Israeli Technology and Infrastructure: Security Implications for Israel and
the United States
, RAND Corporation, 2020, pp. 24-25.
130 James M. Dorsey, “Israel-China Relations: Staring Into the Abyss of US-Chinese Decoupling,” The Globalist, June
9, 2020; Mercy A. Kuo, “US-China-Israel Relations: Pompeo’s Visit,” The Diplomat, May 27, 2020.
131 Hiddai Segev, Doron Ella, and Assaf Orion, “My Way or the Huawei? The United States-China Race for 5G
Dominance,” Institute for National Security Studies Insight No. 1193, July 15, 2019.
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operate a new terminal at Haifa’s seaport for 25 years (beginning in 2021), and another state-
owned Chinese company (a subsidiary of China Harbour Engineering Company) is developing
Ashdod’s new port. Both Haifa and Ashdod host Israeli naval bases. Due to the Chinese contract
for Haifa, the U.S. Navy is reportedly reconsidering its practice of periodically docking there.132
In spring 2020, after the United States again raised concern over Chinese investment in major
Israeli projects, the subsidiary of a Hong Kong-based company lost a bid to build Israel’s largest
desalination plant. Shortly before Israel announced the bid decision, Secretary of State Michael
Pompeo visited Israel and publicly stated, “We do not want the Chinese Communist Party to have
access to Israeli infrastructure, Israeli communication systems, all of the things that put Israeli
citizens at risk and in turn put the capacity for America to work alongside Israel on important
projects at risk as well.”133 The United States and Israel also are reportedly nearing a deal
whereby Israel would pledge not to choose a Chinese technology company to build its 5G next
generation mobile network.134
Other Ongoing Assistance and
Cooperative Programs

Migration & Refugee Assistance
Since 1973, Israel has received grants from the State Department’s Migration and Refugee
Assistance account (MRA)135 to assist in the resettlement of migrants to Israel. Funds are paid to
the United Israel Appeal, a private philanthropic organization in the United States, which in turn
transfers the funds to the Jewish Agency for Israel.136 Between 1973 and 1991, the United States
gave about $460 million for resettling Jewish refugees in Israel. Annual amounts have varied
from a low of $5 million to a high of $80 million, based at least partly on the number of Jews
leaving the former Soviet Union and other areas for Israel.
Table 6. Migration and Refugee Assistance Funding Levels for Israel
Fiscal Year
$519.3 mil ion
$15 mil ion
$15 mil ion
$10 mil ion
$10 mil ion
$7.5 mil ion
$7.5 mil ion

132 “U.S. Navy may Stop Docking in Haifa after Chinese Take Over Port,” Jerusalem Post, December 15, 2018.
133 Shirley Zhao and Ivan Levingston, “Li Ka-Shing Hong Kong Group Loses Israel Deal Amid U.S. Push,”
Bloomberg, May 26, 2020.
134 “Israel, U.S. Near Deal to Exclude China from Israeli 5G Networks: U.S. Official,” Reuters, August 14, 2020.
135 The MRA account is authorized as part of the State Department’s institutional budget, with funds for the account
appropriated through the foreign operations appropriations bill.
136 The Jewish Agency for Israel’s website is available at http://www.jafi.org.il/.
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Fiscal Year
$5.0 mil ion
$5.0 mil ion
FY2021 Request
$5.0 mil ion
Source: U.S. State Department.
Congress has changed the earmark language since the first refugee resettlement funds were
appropriated in 1973. At first, the congressional language said the funds were for “resettlement in
Israel of refugees from the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and from Communist countries in
Eastern Europe.” But starting in 1985, the language was simplified to “refugees resettling in
Israel” to ensure that Ethiopian Jews would be covered by the funding. Technically, the legislative
language designates funds for refugee resettlement, but in Israel little differentiation is made
between Jewish “refugees” and other Jewish immigrants, and the funds are used to support the
absorption of all immigrants.
Loan Guarantees
Since 1972, the United States has extended loan guarantees to Israel to assist with housing
shortages, Israel’s absorption of new immigrants from the former Soviet Union and Ethiopia, and
its economic recovery following the 2000-2003 recession, which was probably caused in part by
the Israeli-Palestinian conflict known as the second intifada. Loan guarantees are a form of
indirect U.S. assistance to Israel, since they enable Israel to borrow from commercial sources at
lower rates. Congress directs that subsidies be set aside in a U.S. Treasury account in case of a
possible Israeli default. These subsidies, which are a percentage of the total loan (based in part on
the credit rating of the borrowing country), have come from the U.S. or the Israeli government.
Israel has never defaulted on a U.S.-backed loan guarantee.
Loan Guarantees for Economic Recovery
In 2003, then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon requested an additional $8 billion in loan guarantees to
help the Israeli government stimulate Israel’s then-ailing economy. The loan guarantee request
accompanied a request for an additional $4 billion in military grants to help Israel prepare for
possible attacks during an anticipated U.S. war with Iraq. P.L. 108-11, the FY2003 Emergency
Wartime Supplemental Appropriations Act, authorized $9 billion in loan guarantees over three
years for Israel’s economic recovery and $1 billion in military grants. P.L. 108-11 stated that the
proceeds from the loan guarantees could be used only within Israel’s pre-June 5, 1967, area of
control; that the annual loan guarantees could be reduced by an amount equal to the amount Israel
spends on settlements outside of Israel’s pre-June 1967 area of control; that Israel would pay all
fees and subsidies; and that the President would consider Israel’s economic reforms when
determining terms and conditions for the loan guarantees.137

137 According to P.L. 108-11, “[Loan] guarantees may be issued under this section only to support activities in the
geographic areas which were subject to the administration of the Government of Israel before June 5, 1967: Provided
further, That the amount of guarantees that may be issued shall be reduced by an amount equal to the amount extended
or estimated to have been extended by the Government of Israel during the period from March 1, 2003, to the date of
issue of the guarantee, for activities which the President determines are inconsistent with the objectives and
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On November 26, 2003, the Department of State announced that the $3 billion in loan guarantees
for FY2003 were reduced by $289.5 million because Israel continued to build settlements in the
occupied territories and continued construction of a security barrier separating key Israeli and
Palestinian population centers.138 In FY2005, the U.S. government reduced the amount available
for Israel to borrow by an additional $795.8 million. Since then, Israel has not borrowed any
According to the U.S. Department of the Treasury, Israel is legally obligated to use the proceeds
of guaranteed loans for refinancing its government debt and also has agreed that proceeds shall
not be used for military purposes or to support activities in areas outside its pre-June 5, 1967,
areas of control (the West Bank—including East Jerusalem—, the Gaza Strip, and the Golan
Heights). However, U.S. officials have noted that since Israel’s national budget is fungible,
proceeds from the issuance of U.S.-guaranteed debt that are used to refinance Israeli government
debt free up domestic Israeli funds for other uses.139
As of 2020, Israel has issued $4.1 billion in U.S.-backed bonds.140 After deducting the amounts
mentioned above, Israel might still be authorized to issue up to $3.814 billion in U.S.-backed
bonds. However, if the Israeli government sought to issue new U.S.-backed bonds, it is unclear
whether the loan guarantees available to Israel might be subject to reduction based on Israel’s
estimated cumulative subsequent expenditures for settlements in the West Bank. Since the
original loan guarantee program authorization for Israel in 2003, Congress has extended the
program four times.141 The program is currently authorized through the end of FY2023.
In general, Israel may view U.S. loan guarantees as a “last resort” option, which its treasury could
use if unguaranteed local and international bond issuances become too expensive. According to
one Israeli official in 2012, “We consider the loan guarantees as preparation for a rainy day....
This is a safety net for war, natural disaster and economic crisis, which allows Israel to maintain
economic stability in unstable surroundings.”142 Israeli officials may believe that although they
have not used the loan guarantees in the last 14 years, maintaining the program boosts the
country’s fiscal standing among international creditors in capital markets.

understandings reached between the United States and the Government of Israel regarding the implementation of the
loan guarantee program: Provided further, That the President shall submit a report to Congress no later than September
30 of each fiscal year during the pendency of the program specifying the amount calculated under the preceding
proviso and that will be deducted from the amount of guarantees authorized to be issued in the next fiscal year.”
138 U.S. State Department, “Boucher cites Concerns over Settlement Building and Security Fence Route,” State
Department Press Releases And Documents, November 26, 2003.
139 CRS correspondence with the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of International Affairs, October 2009.
140 This includes $1.6 billion in FY2003; $1.75 billion in FY2004; and $750 million in FY2005.
141 P.L. 108-447, the FY2005 Consolidated Appropriations Act, first extended the authority of the loan guarantees from
FY2005 to FY2007. P.L. 109-472, the 2006 Department of State Authorities Act, extended the authority to provide
loan guarantees through FY2011. Under that legislation, the loan guarantee program had a stated end of September 30,
2011; however, there was also a “carryover” provision in the statute under which Israel could draw on unused U.S.
guarantees until September 30, 2012. In the summer of 2012, Congress passed and the President signed into law P.L.
112-150, the United States-Israel Enhanced Security Cooperation Act of 2012. Section 5(b) of the law extended the
loan guarantee authority until September 30, 2015. Section 7034(k)(10) of P.L. 114-113, the FY2016 Consolidated
Appropriations Act, further extended the program until September 30, 2019, allowing unused amounts to be carried
over into FY2020.
142 “U.S. to Grant Three-year Extension of Loan Guarantees to Israel,” Ha’aretz, January 24, 2012.
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Table 7. U.S. Loan Guarantees to Israel: FY2003-FY2020
current dollars in millions
Available for
Borrowed by
Israel to
Fiscal Year
















Source: U.S. Department of the Treasury and U.S. State Department.
Note: For FY2003-FY2005, the U.S. Department of the Treasury authorized Israel to borrow up to $3 bil ion
per year of the total $9 bil ion authorized for the Loan Guarantee program.
American Schools and Hospitals Abroad Program (ASHA)143
Through foreign operations appropriations legislation, Congress has funded the ASHA program
as part of the overall Development Assistance (DA) appropriation to the United States Agency for
International Development (USAID). According to USAID, ASHA is designed to strengthen self-
sustaining schools, libraries, and medical centers that best demonstrate American ideals and
practices abroad. ASHA has been providing support to institutions in the Middle East since 1957,
and a number of universities and hospitals in Israel have been recipients of ASHA grants. In
FY2019 (the most recent year for which data are available), ASHA grant recipients in Israel/West
Bank included Shaare Zedek Hospital in Jerusalem, the Feinberg Graduate School of the
Weizmann Institute of Science, and the Nazareth Project, Inc. According to USAID, institutions
based in Israel have received the most program funding in the Middle East region.

143 According to USAID, recipients of ASHA grants on behalf of overseas institutions must be private U.S.
organizations, headquartered in the United States, and tax-exempt. The U.S. organization must also serve as the
founder and/or sponsor of the overseas institution. Schools must be for secondary or higher education and hospital
centers must conduct medical education and research outside the United States. Grants are made to U.S. sponsors for
the exclusive benefit of institutions abroad. See http://www.usaid.gov/our_work/cross-cutting_programs/asha/.
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Table 8. ASHA Program Grants from Israel Account: FY2000-FY2016
Fiscal Year
$2.75 mil ion
$2.25 mil ion
$2.65 mil ion
$3.05 mil ion
$3.15 mil ion
$2.95 mil ion
$3.35 mil ion
$2.95 mil ion
$3.90 mil ion
$3.90 mil ion
$3.80 mil ion
$4.225 mil ion
$3.00 mil ion
$3.800 mil ion
$3.052 mil ion
$3.075 mil ion
$3.600 mil ion
$55.452 million
Source: USAID.
U.S.-Israeli Scientific & Business Cooperation
In the early 1970s, Israeli academics and businessmen began looking for ways to expand
investment in Israel’s nascent technology sector. The sector, which would later become the
driving force in the country’s economy, was in need of private capital for research and
development at the time. The United States and Israel launched several programs to stimulate
Israeli industrial and scientific research, and Congress has on several occasions authorized and
appropriated144 funds for this purpose to the following organizations:
The BIRD Foundation (Israel-U.S. Binational Research & Development
Foundation).145 BIRD, which was established in 1977, provides matchmaking

144 With the exception of recent funding for U.S.-Israeli energy cooperation (see “U.S.-Israeli Energy Cooperation”
section below), Congress has not appropriated funding for binational foundations since the mid-1980s. At this point,
the foundations are able to sustain grant making with interest earned from their respective endowments and fees
collected from companies who successfully profited after receiving research support from the foundations.
145 See http://www.birdf.com/default.asp. Congress helped establish BIRD’s endowment with appropriations of $30
million and $15 million in 1977 (P.L. 95-26) and 1985 (P.L. 98-473), respectively. These grants were matched by the
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services between Israeli and American companies in research and development
with the goal of expanding cooperation between U.S. and Israeli private high-
tech industries. The mission of the Foundation is “to stimulate, promote and
support joint (nondefense) industrial R&D of mutual benefit to…” the two
countries.146 Projects are supported in the areas of homeland security,
communications, electronics, electro-optics, software, life sciences, and
renewable and alternative energy, among others.147 According to the Foundation,
$363 million in grants have been awarded to a thousand projects. Awards
typically range from $700,000 to $900,000. The award size varies based on total
project budget and other considerations. The recipients must provide at least 50%
of the total project budget. While support for military projects is not a part of the
program, several of the completed ventures have yielded products that might be
useful in a military setting, including the Aircraft Enhanced Vision System (EVS)
camera, “which is designed to provide day/night improved orientation during
taxiing or flying. It allows visual landing in reduced visibility conditions, such as
fog, haze, dust, smog etc.” The Foundation also funded the creation of a
Through-Wall Location and Sensing System that is portable and “detects whether
people are present behind walls, how many, and where they are situated.”148
The BSF Foundation (U.S.-Israel Binational Science Foundation).149 BSF,
which was started in 1972, promotes cooperation in scientific and technological
research. Since 2012, BSF has partnered with the National Science Foundation
(NSF) to jointly fund collaborative U.S.-Israeli scientific research. In August
2019, Israel’s Council of Research announced that it would provide $56 million
over a five-year period to expand the BSF-NSF program.
The BARD Foundation (Binational Agriculture and Research and Development
Fund). BARD was created in 1978 and supports U.S.-Israeli cooperation in
agricultural research.150 In the 115th Congress, P.L. 115-334 amended the original
1977 authorization of binational agricultural cooperation by adding that BARD
should promote research in “drip irrigation, pesticides, aquaculture, livestock,
poultry, disease control, and farm equipment”
 In 1995, the United States and Israel established The U.S.-Israel Science and
Technology Foundation (USISTF) to fund and administer projects mandated by
the U.S.-Israel Science and Technology Commission (USISTC),151 a bilateral

Israeli government for a total endowment of $90 million.
146 Eitan Ydilevich, “Building U.S.-Israel Economic Partnerships, The BIRD Model,” Washington, DC. June 10, 2010,
p. 2.
147 BIRD Foundation, What is BIRD?, available at http://www.birdf.com/Index.asp?CategoryID=22&ArticleID=79.
148 Information from the BIRD Foundation website, http://www.birdf.com.
149 See, http://www.bsf.org.il/Gateway4/. In 1972 and 1984, the United States and Israel contributed a total of $100
million ($50 million each) for BSF’s endowment. The U.S. share ($50 million) first came in 1972 in the form of a $30
million accelerated Israeli repayment of earlier food aid debt to the United States. A second tranche followed in 1984
with $20 million congressional appropriation P.L. 98-473). According to the treaty establishing the Foundation, the
Foundation shall use the interest, as well as any funds derived from its activities, for the operations of the Foundation.
150 See http://www.bard-isus.com/. Congress helped establish BARD’s endowment with appropriations of $40 million
and $15 million in 1979 (P.L. 95-481) and 1985 (P.L. 98-473), respectively. These grants were matched by the State of
Israel for a total endowment of $110 million. In recent years, Congress has provided funds for BARD in annual
Agriculture Appropriations legislation at approximately $500,000 a year.
151 The U.S.-Israel Science and Technology Commission (USISTC) was established in 1993 to facilitate cooperative
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entity jointly established by the United States Department of Commerce and the
Israel Ministry of Industry, Trade, and Labor in 1994 to foster scientific,
technological, and economic cooperation between the two countries.
Since 2007, Congress has repeatedly authorized and appropriated funds for the creation of new
U.S.-Israeli cooperative programs in various fields. Most of these new programs fall under the
administrative purview of the BIRD Foundation. They include the following:
U.S.-Israeli Energy Cooperation (BIRD Energy)
BIRD Energy is a cooperative program between the U.S. Department of Energy and the Israeli
Ministry of Energy designed to further research in renewable energy and energy efficiency. It is
nominally part of the BIRD Foundation. Congress authorized the creation of the program in
Section 917 of P.L. 110-140, the Renewable Fuels, Consumer Protection, and Energy Efficiency
Act of 2007.152 Although the law did not appropriate any funds for joint research and
development, it did establish a grant program to support research, development, and
commercialization of renewable energy or energy efficiency. The law also authorized the
Secretary of Energy to provide funds for the grant program as needed. Congress authorized the
program for seven years from the time of enactment, which was on December 19, 2007. Then, in
December 2014, the President signed into law P.L. 113-296, the United States-Israel Strategic
Partnership Act of 2014, which reauthorized the U.S.-Israeli Energy Cooperation program for an
additional 10 years until September 30, 2024.
Congress and the Administration have provided a total of $21.7 million for BIRD Energy to
date.153 As of 2019, total combined U.S. and Israeli investment in BIRD Energy for 41 approved
projects stood at $37.69 million.
U.S.-Israel Center of Excellence in Energy, Engineering and Water Technology
(Energy Center)

In 2018, the U.S. Department of Energy and the Israeli Energy Ministry agreed to establish a new
program known as the U.S.-Israel Center of Excellence in Energy, Engineering and Water
Technology (“the Energy Center”). To date, Congress has appropriated154 $12 million for the
center, and the Israeli government and private sector partners have matched those funds for initial

ventures between high tech industries in the two countries. The goal of the program is to “to maximize the contribution
of technology to economic growth.” While the collaborative work may be somewhat similar to that supported by the
BIRD Foundation, “the Science and Technology Commission assists in the commercialization of new technologies
with longer lead times to market. These projects involve higher risk and require substantial capital commitments.” The
ventures are funded and administered by the U.S.-Israel Science and Technology Foundation. The U.S. and Israeli
governments each committed $15 million to the effort over three years for a total of $30 million.
152 Congress first considered authorizing a program to expand U.S.-Israeli scientific cooperation in the field of
renewable energy in legislation entitled, The United States-Israel Energy Cooperation Act (H.R. 1838 – 110th
153 Congress specifies funds for BIRD Energy in conference report language accompanying energy and water
appropriations legislation. For FY2020, see Division C of 2020 Omnibus Conference Report accompanying P.L. 116-
94, the Further Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2020.
154 P.L. 115-141, the FY2018 Consolidated Appropriations Act, provided $4 million for the establishment of a U.S.-
Israel Center of Excellence in energy and water technologies. P.L. 115-244, the Energy and Water, Legislative Branch,
and Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Act, 2019, provided an additional $4 million in funding.
In FY2020, Congress appropriated another $4 million. See, Division C of 2020 Omnibus Conference Report
accompanying P.L. 116-94, the Further Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2020.
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seed money of $24 million.155 Potential research areas identified by the Energy Center include:
energy cybersecurity in critical infrastructure, energy storage, and production and utilization of
natural gas. According to the Center, the maximum award for a single consortium is $10 million
for a period of five years.156
BIRD Homeland Security (BIRD HLS)
The BIRD Foundation also manages the BIRD Homeland Security Program, a cooperative
undertaking between the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Israel Ministry of
Public Security (MOPS) to further joint research of advanced technologies for Homeland
Security.157 Currently, DHS’s Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) is working together
with Israeli counterparts to develop technologies for first responders.158 To date, Congress has
provided a total of $9 million in funding for BIRD HLS, of which $4 million was specified in
conference report language accompanying FY2018 and FY2019 Homeland Security
Appropriation legislation for a “binational cooperative pilot program.” Congress appropriated $2
million for BIRD HLS in FY2020.159 The remaining $3 million came in the form of three one-
million-dollar Homeland Security Department grants (FY2016-FY2018) for a first responders
FY2021 Israel Assistance Legislation
H.R. 7608– State, Foreign Operations, Agriculture, Rural Development, Interior, Environment,
Military Construction, and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Act, 2021 (which passed the House in
July 2020) would provide (including in directives in the accompanying H.Rept. 116-444):
 $3.3 billion in Foreign Military Financing for Israel;
 $5 million in MRA to resettle Jewish refugees in Israel;

155 The U.S.-Israel Strategic Partnership Act (P.L. 113-296) authorized the President to promote cooperative programs
with Israel in the fields of energy, water, agriculture, and alternative fuel technologies. P.L. 114-322, the WIIN Act
(Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act), called on the White House Office of Science and Technology
Policy to develop a coordinated strategic plan that, among other things, strengthened “research and development
cooperation with international partners, such as the State of Israel, in the area of desalination technology.”
156 U.S. Department of Energy, “DOE, Israel’s Ministry of Energy, and Israel Innovation Authority Announce Call for
Proposals for the U.S.-Israel Energy Center,” April 30, 2019.
157 The U.S.-Israel Strategic Partnership Act (P.L. 113-296) authorized the Secretary of Homeland Security, acting
through the Director of the Homeland Security Advanced Research Projects Agency and with the concurrence of the
Secretary of State, to enter into cooperative research pilot programs with Israel to enhance Israel's capabilities in
border, maritime, and aviation security, explosives detection, and emergency services. In 2016, Congress passed P.L.
114-304, the United States-Israel Advanced Research Partnership Act of 2016, a law that permanently authorized the
expansion of BIRD HLS to include cybersecurity technologies.
158 U.S. Department of Homeland Security, “Snapshot: Israel & U.S.: A Unique Partnership in Science, Technology
and Business,” January 23, 2018.
159 See Division D of the Joint Explanatory Statement (not in the bill text) accompanying P.L. 116-93, Consolidated
Appropriations Act, 2020. Since that explanatory statement refers to relevancy of House and Senate reports, S.Rept.
116-125 (which carries same weight as the joint explanatory statement) of the FY2020 Department of Homeland
Security Appropriations Bill, 2020, includes $2 million for a “Binational Cooperative Pilot.” Appropriators also
specified that “the pilot should continue its focus on border security, maritime security, biometrics, cybersecurity, and
video analytics among other topics. Within 180 days of the enactment of this act, S&T shall provide a report to the
Committee on the results of each grant awarded through the pilot and on any commercialization or transition to practice
that has resulted from the pilot's projects.”
160 CRS correspondence with BIRD Foundation, July 2019.
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U.S. Foreign Aid to Israel

 An extension of the authorization for Israel to access the War Reserves Stockpile
through FY2023;
 An addition to the value of war materiel in the War Reserves Stockpile by $600
million total over a three-year period from 2021-2023;
 $10 million in Economic Support Funds (ESF) to help support the Ethiopian-
Israeli community;
 Lawmaker support for funds directed toward the Special Defense Acquisition
Fund to be used to transfer precision guided munitions to reserve stocks for
 $2 million in ESF for an Eastern Mediterranean Partnership joint dialogue, an
annual event in the United States with Israel, Greece, and Cyprus designed to
promote energy independence and regional cooperation;
 Authorization to establish a ‘People-to-People Partnership for Peace Fund’ to
provide funding for projects to help build the foundation for peaceful co-
existence between Israelis and Palestinians and for a sustainable two-state
 Lawmaker support for future Israeli purchases of jet fuel from the United States
using U.S. military aid; and
 Lawmaker support for USAID to allocate $2 million toward a cooperative
development program between USAID and Israel’s Mashav (Israel’s foreign aid
agency) to address international water, agriculture, and energy sustainability. 161
H.R. 6395 and S. 4049 (with S.AMDT 2301) – The William M. (Mac) Thornberry National
Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021
(which passed the House and Senate in July
2020) would authorize:
 $500 million in joint U.S.-Israeli missile defense cooperation (the House version
specified $77 million for Arrow III, $50 million for David’s Sling, $73 million
for Iron Dome, and $300 million for Arrow II);
 (in the House) a U.S.-Israeli grant program to facilitate research to aid the
diagnoses and treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD);
 (in the Senate) the creation of a U.S.-Israel Operations Technology Working
Group to provide a standing forum for the United States and Israel to
systematically share intelligence-informed military capability requirements and
deepen their defense partnership; and
 the inclusion of S. 3176, the “United States-Israel Security Assistance
Authorization Act of 2020” into the bill.162

161 In 2019, USAID signed a MOU with Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz to strengthen the global partnership
between USAID and Israel’s foreign aid agency, MASHAV. A joint U.S.-Israel program for international development
was already established in 1984, the U.S.-Israel Cooperative Development Program. While it has been dormant in
recent years, its statutory language still exists as Section 106 of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961. Subsection (f)
specifically authorizes “cooperative projects among the United States, Israel, and developing countries.”
162 S. 3176 would, among other things, authorize $3.3 billion in FMF to Israel through FY2028, extend the
authorization of WRSA-I and increase its value, and extend the authorization of loan guarantees to Israel through
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U.S. Foreign Aid to Israel

H.R. 7617 – The Defense, Commerce, Justice, Science, Energy and Water Development,
Financial Services and General Government, Labor, Health and Human Services, Education,
Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development Appropriations Act, 2021
(which passed the
House in July 2020) would provide:
 $500 million in joint U.S.-Israeli missile defense cooperation (of which $73
million for Iron Dome, $177 million for David’s Sling, $77 million for Arrow III,
and $173 million for Arrow II);
 $47.5 million for U.S.-Israeli Anti-Tunneling cooperation;
 $25 million for U.S.-Israeli Counter Unmanned Aerial Systems cooperation;
 $4 million for National Institutes of Health Office of the Director to establish a
pilot program to support research and development jointly with Israel for
effective responses to COVID-19; and
 $2 million for BIRD Energy and $4 million for the U.S.-Israel Center of
Excellence in Energy, Engineering and Water Technology.163

163 See H.Rept. 116-449 accompanying H.R. 7613, the Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies
Appropriations bill, 2021.
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link to page 45 U.S. Foreign Aid to Israel

Appendix. Bilateral Aid to Israel
Table A-1
shows cumulative U.S. aid to Israel for FY1951 through FY2018 in current dollars.
Table A-1. U.S. Bilateral Aid to Israel
millions of dollars (current non-inflation adjusted)
Fiscal Year Economic
46,418.1 75,684.5
34,326.0 97,907.7 132,233.7
Source: U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), U.S. Overseas Loans and Grants: Obligations and
Loan Authorizations, July 1, 1945–September 30, 2018.

Author Information

Jeremy M. Sharp

Specialist in Middle Eastern Affairs

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U.S. Foreign Aid to Israel

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