Ambassador Thomas R. Nides
The United States was the first country to recognize Israel as a state in 1948, and the first to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in 2017. Israel is a great partner to the United States, and Israel has no greater friend than the United States. The unbreakable bond between our two countries has never been stronger. Americans and Israelis remain united by our shared commitment to individual liberty, self-government, economic prosperity, and the struggle against international terrorism. A long-standing U.S. priority is to promote a comprehensive and lasting solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by urging both sides to look toward the future, rather than at historical narratives and grievances.
U.S. Security Cooperation with Israel
Israel’s security is a long-standing cornerstone of U.S. foreign policy. The United States’ commitment to Israel’s security is supported by robust defense cooperation and the 10-year, $38 billion Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed by the United States and Israel in 2016. Consistent with the MOU, the United States annually provides $3.3 billion in Foreign Military Financing and $500 million for cooperative programs for missile defense.
In addition to security assistance, the United States participates in a variety of exchanges with Israel, including joint military exercises, research, and weapons development. Further, through the annual Joint Counterterrorism Group and regular strategic dialogues, the United States and Israel work together to counter a range of regional threats.
Bilateral Economic Relations
The U.S.-Israel economic and commercial relationship is strong, anchored by bilateral trade of close to $50 billion in goods and services annually. U.S.-Israel bilateral economic relations are codified in a number of treaties and agreements, including the 1985 U.S.-Israel Free Trade Agreement (FTA) and the Agreement on Trade in Agricultural Products. Since signing the FTA in 1985, U.S.-Israel bilateral goods and services trade has grown eight-fold, making the United States Israel’s largest trading partner. U.S. goods exports to Israel in 2019 were $14.7 billion, with $19.6 billion of imports in 2019. U.S. exports of services to Israel were an estimated $5.7 billion in 2019, with imports of $7.4 billion. The United States and Israel also coordinate scientific and cultural exchanges through the Binational Science Foundation (BSF), the Binational Agricultural Research and Development Foundation (BARD), Binational Industrial Research and Development Foundation (BIRD) and the U.S.-Israeli Education Foundation. To facilitate economic cooperation, the two countries convene a Joint Economic Development Group each year to discuss our economic partnership and possible initiatives for the coming year.