US underwrites Israel's economy, while Americans suffer

While sending tens of billions in aid to Israel, the US watches its own citizens struggle to access healthcare and education

By Morgan Strong

November 04, 2019 "Information Clearing House" - Israel is around the same size as New Jersey, one of the smallest US states and which contributes nearly $30bn to the US federal budget - very little of which is returned through federal programmes.

A portion of that money ends up in Israel. Indeed, all 50 states rely on some return of their federal taxes for infrastructure, highways, healthcare, education and other programmes. When a portion of that money is used for other purposes - such as aid to Israel - the citizens suffer the consequences.

Military aid

The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs estimates US direct aid to Israel at more than $130bn. Unlike other recipients of US military aid, Israel has in the past been allowed to spend more than a quarter of its annual military aid in Israel, rather than in the US, resulting in an increasingly sophisticated and competitive Israeli defence industry.

As a result, the Congressional Research Service reported that between 2004 and 2011, Israel was the eighth-largest arms exporter, with sales of $12.9bn. In contrast with other countries receiving US military aid, which must purchase through the Department of Defense (DOD), Israel deals directly with US companies and is exempt from DOD review. 

Israel is ranked 22nd on the UN Human Development Index, compared to the US at 13th. Despite a lagging GDP, Israel is nonetheless considered a wealthy country, with universal healthcare, affordable higher education and a higher life expectancy than the US.

All Israeli residents are entitled to basic healthcare as a fundamental right, compared to the US, which has one of the most underperforming healthcare systems among developed nations, despite massive spending of $3.5 trillion annually. 


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