Americans tend to overestimate how much the U.S. gives to other countries in foreign aid. Many assume that the U.S. gives 25% of their budget to other countries through foreign aid, but in reality that budget is less than 1%, around $40 million, and is split into three categories: humanitarian, economic, and military.
Unlike other countries in the Middle East, U.S. aid to Israel is almost exclusively military aid that functions kind of like “gift certificates”. The U.S. produces military equipment and gives money to other countries, like Israel, to use to purchase equipment from American manufacturers. This helps boost the U.S. economy, creates jobs and strengthens its military relationships with these countries.
1973 was the first year the U.S. provided $492 million in military aid to Israel, but just a year later that raised to $2.6 billion due to the Yom Kippur war, when Egypt and Syria launched a surprise attack on Israel. The U.S. launched Operation Nickel Grass to help Israel and sent them 22 thousand tons of ammunition, helping them win the war. The historical events that have transpired since then have raised awareness to U.S. politicians on the importance of having Israel as their active ally in the Middle East.
Overall, U.S. foreign aid given to Israel has bipartisan support, however not everyone approves this policy. Some Americans on the progressive left feel that aid to Israel should be conditional, while some Israelis have argued that receiving this aid makes Israel too dependent on the U.S.