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From an article entitled, "U.S. Aid to Israel: What U.S. Taxpayer Should Know", by the Washington Report on Middle Eastern Affairs,

Since 1949 the U.S. has given Israel a total of $83.205 billion. The interest costs borne by U.S. tax payers on behalf of Israel are $49.937 billion, thus making the total amount of aid given to Israel since 1949 $133.132 billion. This may mean that U.S. government has given more federal aid to the average Israeli citizen in a given year than it has given to the average American citizen.

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    The cited claim doesn't define what aid to Americans is. – Andrew Grimm Dec 28 '15 at 2:35
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    The question is probably on-topic, but I've downvoted it as boring. For those interested in what the WRMEA is and their political positions (eg on holocaust museums) the Wikipedia article is en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/… – Andrew Grimm Dec 28 '15 at 2:48
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    @AndrewGrimm I'm not sure if "boring" is a right reason to downvote a question. This question is interesting to me. – T. Sar Dec 28 '15 at 14:55
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    Leaving everything else aside, $133B is wrong from Congressional Research view. They only cite ~$120B - which includes things like loan guarantees (which presumably aren't actually lost from US budget unless Israel defaults on a loan). – user5341 Dec 28 '15 at 17:11
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    And, at the risk of a logical fallacy, do you really trust the "unbiased" opinion about Israel of an outfit whose official store sells pro-terrorist and pro-PA paraphernalia? wrmea.org/images/2014bookstoreinside.jpg – user5341 Dec 29 '15 at 3:25
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The claim is 100% false

Summary

  • US spent - using the most low possible definition (welfare spending only) $2000 per person per year in 2010.

  • US aid to Israel was $45/person/year before 1970

  • US aid to Israel since 1970 on average was $160 for economic aid, $80 direct military aid (total $240), and $234 in aid allocated for purchasing military equipment from USA (total $475) per person per year.

    • Please note that including the latter amount (purchases of US military equipment) balooons the aid amount 2x. However, this aid is much more of an aid to US citizen (considering this routes money into US companies and pays workers' salaries and generates profits for US companies) than it is to average Israeli citizen.

      Please note that if you want to include this aid, you should ALSO include any US military-industrial spending as "aid to average US citizen", to compare apples to apples.

Details

Any cites not sourced otherwise are from 2015 Congressional Research Service report "U.S. Foreign Aid to Israel" by Jeremy M. Sharp, Specialist in Middle Eastern Affairs:

  1. Most of the aid is military (66%).

    Economic aid was $45/year per citizen before 1970 and $160/citizen/year since 1970.

    Clearly, this is far lower than US economic aid to it citizens, which - even only counting welfare - is in excess of $2000/person/year. Probably far higher if you include other budget items that aren't welfare.

  2. Most of the military aid (75%) is not simply military aid, but specifically, money that are - either voluntarily or contractually - are spent on buying US military equipment.

    In that, this aid is much more of an aid to US citizen (considering this routes money into US companies and pays workers' salaries and generates profits for US companies) than it is to average Israeli citizen.

    Please note that if you want to include this aid, you should ALSO include any US military-industrial spending as "aid to average US citizen", to compare apples to apples.

  3. In addition, the context of the source makes it seem that they are OK with giving money to Arab countries. If so, you should reduce the average aid amounts by 20% since that's what Arab population of Israel is.

Averages and #s

  1. First, let's look at aid amounts.

    For the next two decades (1948-1970), U.S. aid to Israel was modest and was far less than in later. Although the United States provided moderate amounts of economic aid (mostly loans), Israel’s main early patron was France

    From 1949 through 1965, U.S. aid to Israel averaged about $63 million per year, over 95% of which was economic development assistance and food aid.

    From 1971 to the present, U.S. aid to Israel has averaged over $2.6 billion per year, two-thirds of which has been military assistance.

    We don't know the average aid between 1965 and 1970, but as per the first quote, it wasn't significantly larger than earlier, until 1971. Let's say 2x earlier average, $130M/year on the low end.

    That gives us:

    • $1.386B total aid 1948-1965, 100% of it economic

    • about $0.650B total aid 1965-1970 (estimated), most of it economic

    • $117B total aid 1971-2015, of which $39B was economic, $19.3B military to Israel, and $52B purchases of US military equipment.

      A vast majority (Wikipedia claims 75%) of the aid is not simply military aid, but specifically, money that are - either voluntarily or contractually - are spent on buying US military equipment.

      of which nearly 75% was used to purchase U.S. defense equipment from American companies (2002 Wikipedia data).


  1. Now, let's look at per-citizen #s

    Since Israeli population grew roughly linearly from 1M in 1948 to 3M in 1970 to 8M now, the average is 3.5M overall, and 5.5M in the years when most of the aid was given.

    The above figures then add up to

    • $1000 total per citizen ($45/year) before 1970, all of it economic aid

    • $21,000 total on average since 1970, of which $7,000 is economic aid, $3.500 is direct military aid, and $10.500 military purchases from USA.

    Per year/person that makes it, rounded up, $160 for economic aid, $80 direct military aid (total $240), and $234 in aid allocated for purchasing military equipment from USE (total $475)


  1. Now, lets' look at spending on aid for US citizens.

    Merely counting the most obvious bare-bones (social spending), which is entirely NOT apples-to-apples comparison, we get

    Not including Social Security and Medicare, Congress allocated almost $717 billion in federal funds in 2010 plus $210 billion was allocated in state funds ($927 billion total) for means tested welfare programs in the United States.

    Total Social Security and Medicare expenditures in 2013 were $1.3 trillion

    Since US population was ~300M in 2010, that means $2,000/year/person average in just the core means tested welfare programs - NOT including much larger and costly things that can be forever argued back and forth if they are "spending on american citizen". Also, note that this doesn't include debt interest, unlike the figure used for US aid to Israel.

  • This is a better answer than mine. – DJClayworth Dec 28 '15 at 21:29
  • You have this unfinished sentence in part 2 of details "The above 2 points leave us with an average economic aid of" – SIMEL Dec 28 '15 at 23:04
  • Also, you write "Economic aid was $45/year per citizen before 1970 and $160/citizen/year since 1970. Clearly, this far exceeds US economic aid to it citizens, which - even only counting welfare - is in excess of $2000/person/year." I think that you need to use the opposite of exceeds here. – SIMEL Dec 28 '15 at 23:08
  • @IlyaMelamed I noticed that, but assumed he was being sarcastic. – Andrew Grimm Dec 29 '15 at 2:58
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    @AndrewGrimm - no, just an artifact of poor refactoring surgery on the answer. I'll clean up – user5341 Dec 29 '15 at 3:20

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