The recent visit of Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address a joint session of Congress has opened up a rare split in the relations between the United States and Israel. On its surface, the issue appears to be purely political: Netanyahu was invited by House Speaker John Boehner without consultation of the White House, an apparent violation of protocol.
Still, if the past is any judge, U.S.-Israel relations will recover. Since it was founded in 1948, Israel has become the largest single recipient of U.S foreign assistance — a total of $121 billion, almost all of which has been in the form of military assistance. Among the findings of a 2014 report by the Congressional Research Service:
- This FY2015 foreign military financing (FMF) level would constitute roughly 55% of the United States’ total FMF funding worldwide and would finance 23% to 25% of the overall Israeli defense budget — percentages that clearly demonstrate the U.S. commitment to Israeli security and Israel’s dependence on U.S. support.
- In addition to $3.1 billion in FY2015 funding, the Obama Administration also requested $96.8 million for joint US-Israeli programs and $175.9 million for Iron Dome, Israel’s short-range anti-rocket system.
- The U.S. Defense Department also stores military supplies on Israeli bases in preparation for combat, and if needed, Israeli forces can request use of these supplies from the U.S. government in times of emergency, as happened in the 2006 conflict with Hezbollah. The value of the U.S. materiel stored in Israel increased to $800 million in 2010, with Congressional approval for up to $1.2 billion.