STRONG AND HISTORIC TIES
The United States was the first country to recognize Israeli statehood when Israel declared independence in 1948. The 75-year partnership has been built on mutual interests and shared democratic values from its inception, with Israelis and Americans united by their commitment to democracy, economic prosperity, and regional security.
SECURITY ASSISTANCE AND COOPERATION
The abiding U.S. commitment to Israel’s security is buttressed by robust security assistance to Israel – including the 10-year, $38 billion MOU that was concluded in 2016. Consistent with the MOU, the United States provides $3.3 billion annually in Foreign Military Financing and an additional $500 million in missile defense funding. Missile defense funding supports several cooperative missile defense programs, including David’s Sling and Iron Dome, as well as Arrow, Arrow II, and Arrow III, whose life-saving capabilities have proved vital to Israel’s security. In 2022, the United States provided $1 billion in supplemental funding to replenish Israel’s stock of missile interceptors for the Iron Dome.
The United States and Israel also participate in a variety of security-related exchanges, including joint military exercises, research, and weapons development. Through the annual Joint Counterterrorism Group and other regular strategic dialogues, the United States and Israel are able to collaborate closely to address a range of regional threats.
REGIONAL PEACE AND COOPERATION
The United States is committed to promoting a more integrated, prosperous, and secure Middle East that benefits all its people. We are dedicated to deepening and expanding normalization and integration between Israel and Arab and Muslim-majority states – as exemplified by the Abraham Accords, other normalization agreements, and the Negev Forum. Established in March 2022, the Negev Forum – consisting at present of Bahrain, Egypt, Israel, Morocco, the UAE, and the United States – advances regional integration, cooperation, and development to augment peace, security, and economic prosperity for the wider region, including initiatives that could strengthen the Palestinian economy and improve Palestinians’ quality of life. The United States remains committed to advancing a comprehensive, negotiated two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
In July 2022, the United States, Israel, India, and the UAE participated in the inaugural I2U2 summit. This unique grouping of countries aims to harness a collective, shared entrepreneurial spirit to tackle common challenges, with a particular focus on joint investments and initiatives in water, energy, transportation, space, health, and food security. This forum is helping to further advance Israel’s regional and global integration.
In November 2022, Israel, Jordan, and the UAE signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) for Project Prosperity, a two-part project to supply Israel with clean energy (Prosperity Green) and Jordan with desalinated water (Prosperity Blue). The agreement, brokered by Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry, will enhance regional integration and resilience in the face of climate change.
As part of our efforts to promote a two-state solution and regional peace, the United States is programming the first two years of a five-year funding plan (a $100 million tranche) directed under the Nita M. Lowey Middle East Partnership for Peace Act (MEPPA) to strengthen people-to-people engagement between Israelis and Palestinians. MEPPA’s first awards, announced in March 2022, support the Israeli and Palestinian private sectors to forge partnerships, promote economic growth, and lay the foundation for peace through people-to-people connections.
The U.S.-Israel economic and commercial relationship is strong, anchored by an annual bilateral trade of nearly $50 billion in goods and services. Several treaties and agreements, including the 1985 U.S.-Israel Free Trade Agreement (FTA), solidify bilateral economic relations. Since the FTA’s signing in 1985, the United States has become Israel’s largest trading partner.
To facilitate economic cooperation, we convene an annual Joint Economic Development Group (JEDG) to discuss the economic partnership and areas for potential growth. The United States and Israel also coordinate scientific and cultural exchanges through the Binational Science Foundation, the Binational Agricultural Research and Development Foundation, Binational Industrial Research and Development Foundation, and the U.S.-Israeli Education Foundation. In July 2022, the United States and Israel held a Strategic High-Level Dialogue on Technology to partner on critical and emerging technologies to address global challenges.
EDUCATIONAL AND CULTURAL TIES
Exchanges between the United States and Israel include a rich variety of cultural, educational, and professional programs. Approximately 17,000 Israelis are alumni of such programs including:
- The Fulbright Program. The State Department has supported over 3,400 U.S. and Israeli citizens through this flagship academic exchange program.
- The International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP). IVLP executes exchange programs for Israeli rising leaders and professionals.
- UGRAD and Education USA. These programs allow Israeli students to study in the United States; 2,027 Israelis participated in the 2021-2022 academic year.
- English Access: This language program annually engages 700 students and teachers.
- American Space (Jerusalem): In 2022, this State Department-administered space hosted 3,662 visitors and offered 249 programs for 8,656 attendees on topics including civil society, democracy and rule of law, women’s empowerment, and STEM.
- Arts programs. U.S.-sponsored arts programs include an environmental arts virtual residency, as well as an exchange among Arab and Israeli youth – centered on hip hop, spoken word, and urban dance – that seeks to promote grassroots reconciliation.
For further information, please see the Israel page on the State Department website.