How Much Military Aid to Israel?

From 2009 to 2018, the United States will give Israel–the largest recipient of US assistance–$30 billion in military aid. In enforcing its brutal military occupation of the Palestinian West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza Strip, Israel regularly misuses US weapons in violation of US law to kill and injure Palestinian civilians, destroy Palestinian civilian infrastructure, blockade the Gaza Strip, and build illegal settlements in West Bank and East Jerusalem.

How much of this total will your community provide?  Is this a good use of your tax dollars? What else could your taxes be used for in your community?  Find out on the interactive map below.

How to Use This Map

  1. Click on a state to display its residents’ portion of the $30 billion in weapons for Israel.
  2. Filter the results further by selecting the desired Congressional district, county, or city in that state from the drop-down menus.
  3. Reset the map and drop-down menus by clicking on another state.

How to Interpret the Data

The amount of military aid to Israel is the estimated 10-year contribution from that state, Congressional district, county, or city. That same amount of money could fund instead each year one of the following programs for the number of people indicated: affordable housing vouchers for low-income families, green jobs training for unemployed workers, early reading programs for at-risk students, or primary health care for the uninsured.

How Did We Get These Numbers?

In August 2007, the United States and Israel signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) outlining a ten-year (FY2009-2018) U.S. military aid package to Israel totaling $30 billion. We got the text of the MOU by submitting a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with the State Department, which you can view by clicking here.

To estimate each state’s contribution to this $30 billion expenditure, we took figures from the Internal Revenue Service Tax Stats, Gross Collections, by Type of Tax and State for FY2008. This data enabled us to figure out the percentage of each state’s contribution to federal taxes collected. State figures do not add up to $30 billion exactly because the IRS collects a small percentage of overall taxes from international sources and U.S. armed services personnel stationed overseas.

To estimate the contribution of each Congressional district, county, and city to this $30 billion expenditure, we took figures from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2006-2008 American Community Survey 3-Year Estimates. Multiplying total population by estimated per capita income in the past 12 months (in 2008 inflation-adjusted dollars) enabled us to figure out the percentage of each geographical unit’s contribution to its state’s contribution of federal taxes collected.

To estimate the budgetary trade-offs, we took figures from the budget justifications of the federal government agencies that administer these federal government programs. Dividing the cost of the program by the number of people served by it, we figured out how much each of these programs cost per person. We then took this per person program cost and divided it by a geographical unit’s contribution to the $30 billion dollars in military aid to Israel to figure out how many people could have been served instead by this program with this money.

To estimate the average tax-payer bill in 2010 of $19.19 for military aid to Israel, we took President Obama’s FY2011 budget request of $3 billion in military aid to Israel and divided it by the number of individual tax filings (156,297,000) reported by the IRS in its 2008 End of Year End Report.

Learn More about the Budgetary Trade-Off Programs

Affordable housing grants. In its FY2010 budget justification, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) planned to provide 2,165,700 low-income households with Section 8 tenant-based rental vouchers at a total cost of $17.836 billion, or $8,235.67 per household.

HUD’s program description: “Initiated in the mid-1970s, rental housing vouchers have since emerged as the nation’s largest low-income housing assistance program. They now serve over 2 million households with extremely low incomes (about 40 percent of families who receive vouchers now have incomes below half of the poverty line), paying the difference between 30 percent of a household’s income and the rent of a qualifying, moderately priced house or apartment.”

Green jobs training. In its FY2010 budget justification, the Department of Labor (DOL) requested $50 million for its Green Jobs Innovation Fund to train 8,300 workers for a cost of $6,204.10 per worker.

DOL’s program description: “The Green Jobs Innovation Fund, authorized as Pilot and Demonstration Projects under Section 171 of the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) of 1998, supports competitive grant opportunities to help workers receive job training in green industry sectors and occupations and access green career pathways.”

Early reading education. In its FY2010 budget justification, the Department of Education (DOE) estimated that in FY2009 it spent $112,549,000 for its Early Reading Fund to serve 33,278 children for a cost of $3,382.08 per student.

DOE’s program description: “The Early Reading First program supports local efforts to enhance the early language, literacy, and pre-reading development of preschool-aged children, particularly those from low-income families, through instruction, materials, and professional development based on scientific reading research.”

Primary health care. In its FY2010 budget justification, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) reported that it spent $1,988,039,000 in FY2007 to provide 16.1 million patients with primary health care through its Health Centers program for a cost of $123.48 per patient.

HHS’s program description: “For more than 40 years, Health Centers have delivered comprehensive, high-quality, cost-effective primary healthcare to patients regardless of their ability to pay. During that time Health Centers have become the essential primary care provider for America’s most vulnerable populations: people living in poverty, uninsured, and homeless; minorities; migrant and seasonal farmworkers; public housing residents; geographically isolated; and people with limited English proficiency.”