Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene decided to tweet her own facts about U.S. spending in Israel on Sunday. She wrote, “Israel is literally dominating in their war with Hamas after being brutally attacked killing thousands of innocent people, and not one single American dollar has been spent on that war yet. Just think about that.”
Predictably, plenty of people were quick to correct her, including acclaimed horror novelist Stephen King. He replied, “Are you tripping? We’ve given them aid and armaments for decades.”
Greene was also corrected by X’s own Community Notes. A community-approved note on the service formerly known as Twitter, affixed to the bottom of her original post, reads, “‘and not one single American dollar’ is false, since WW2, US has given Israel ~$260b in aid, much of it went to the military. Plus another $10b for their Iron Dome defense system (which they are currently using at this war). The grants acquire the buying of American tech.”
American aid to Israel has become a hot topic as the war between Israel and Hamas continues. In 2022 alone, the United States committed more than $3.3 billion in foreign aid to Israel, and a full 99.7% of that amount went to the country’s military.
There is an abundance of information available when it comes to breaking down the aid that Israel receives from the U.S. Since the end of World War II, Israel has been the “largest cumulative recipient of U.S. foreign assistance.” The United States has sent Israel at least $158 billion in “bilateral assistance and missile defense funding.”
The countries re-signed their third 10-year Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in 2016, which secured such funding through 2028. In this new agreement, the U.S. will supply at least $38 billion of military aid.
Israel has also been able to buy 50 F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, the Department of Defense’s fifth-generation stealth aircraft, and is the first other country to have done so. The purchase was funded with U.S. assistance. The United Arab Emirates also expressed a strong interest in purchasing the jets.
For the fiscal year 2023, the United States already authorized $520 million for a shared U.S.-Israeli defense program (the authorization took place well before the current conflict).
The American Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and Christians United for Israel (CUFI) are considered two of the most actively engaged organizations in the U.S. that support funding for Israel. A third more liberal organization, J Street, also supports funding for Israel as long as it is not used to “trample on Palestinian rights.”
Israel also exports defense equipment to the United States, though most of such exports go to India, Azerbaijan and Vietnam. In 2019, the U.S. bought $1.5 billion in such equipment.
The Congressional Research Service reports that the primary purpose of U.S. military funding for Israel is to support the latter’s “qualitative military edge” over other countries in the region.
When it comes to equipment being used in the current Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Israeli is using Merkava tanks, which were developed by the IDF, as well as the country’s Eitan APC. Israel is also using the previously purchased American F-35 jets and is also likely using the U.S. Patriot missile defense system.
The United States-Israel Free Trade Agreement, which was signed in 1985, was also the first free trade agreement that the U.S. signed with another country. Both nations benefit from the arrangement; as of 2016, trade between the two totaled $49 billion.
The Oct. 7 attack by Hamas brought U.S. aid to Israel into sharp focus. President Biden asked for an extra $14.3 billion for the country, which was included in a total request of $106 billion that would be split among several countries and causes.
It is difficult to deny that Israel has been able to develop its military largely due to the financial support of the United States. It’s also difficult to deny that at least some of those billions of U.S. dollars have been spent on the present conflict as a result.
In recent years, funds from the U.S. have made up 15% of Israel’s total defense budget.