US and Israel have been allies for decades. What are benefits for the US besides having military bases and political reasons?

In essence, what are the economical benefits? What does Israel export into the US?

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    I haven't voted, but question is a tad stream of consciousness.
    – Golden Cuy
    Commented Aug 19, 2016 at 10:09
  • Perhaps the question could be edited to be a bit less subjective? It's hard to answer without being opinion-based.
    – rougon
    Commented Aug 19, 2016 at 12:23
  • Sometimes alliances are more about worldview and spheres than economical expediency. Commented Aug 19, 2016 at 15:36
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    @Philipp, that's different than my question since I'm only interested in economics not political. Can anyone give me a GDP breakdown of Israeli import and exports?
    – Noah
    Commented Aug 19, 2016 at 16:45

3 Answers 3

  1. A major boost to US defense industry.

    About three quarters of the aid is earmarked for purchases of military equipment from U.S. companies and the rest is spent on domestic equipment. (Wikipedia, citing "Congressional Research Service Report for Congress: U.S Foreign Aid to Israel")

    In essence, most of the aid is not "aid to Israel", economically, as much as "Pork-barrel spending on US military-industrial complex".

    As a matter of fact, Obama is reportedly pushing to move that from 75% to 100%.

  2. Aside from 75% of aid being spent to buy weapons from US companies, that aid is used by US military-industrial complex to generate tangible economic benefits by giving US veto power over Israel's military technology exports - which sometimes are due to security concerns (e.g. China), but sometimes simply to aid the export competitiveness of US companies.

    A clear example is Nigeria, where US vetoed a sale of Cobra attack helicopters to fight Boco Haram in 2015... Only to be followed by efforts to sell 12 A-28 Super Tucano attack aircraft for the same exact purposes by a US company in 2016.

  3. Low price of oil.

    A large part of aid to Israel is basically to buy off Israel's being quiet (e.g. agreeing to peace with Egypt, not reacting when Iraq shot SCUDs at Israel during Kuwait War etc..., not attacking Iran to prevent nuclear weapon acquisition). Any disturbance to Middle East stability has a chance to raise world oil prices (see 1970s) so avoiding said disturbance and aiding stability is an enormous economic benefit to USA.

  4. In general (as a superset of #3), to force Israel into policy decisions beneficial to USA - which again offer indirect US economic benefits in many cases.

    Richard Perle, a senior Pentagon official in the Reagan administration, explicitly stated:

    The aid is an “inducement to get Israeli concessions in the Middle East". (source: Associated Press article, posted in "Minneapolis Star Tribune")

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    I'm not bothering with the more subtle things, such as plausible but hard to explicitly prove economic benefits of (1) Joint research; (2) Field testing US equipment in actual combat - see improvements to Bradley Fighting Vehicles imposed by Israel; (3) Having a safe and secure logistics base in Middle-East (do you thing staging hardware in any other country would be free?)
    – user4012
    Commented Aug 23, 2016 at 3:04

Israel is a major hub of international research and development in a number of sectors that are unmatched in the totality of the region. The United States as well as the international community have a number of economical incentives to ensuring the continuation of the state of Israel as it far outperforms its neighbors in almost every sector.

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    I am inclined to agree, but do you have any data to contextualise and support the claim?
    – user8398
    Commented Aug 22, 2016 at 11:21
  • @inappropriateCode plenty of Israeli billionaires on the Forbes list are in the software industry, where the neighboring countries don't have that many billionaires in the technology sector. Commented Aug 25, 2016 at 23:14

The overwhelming reason for US support for Israel, I would have thought, was due to the massive constituency of support that Israel has, and continues to nurture within the United States electorate.

It is not just the Jewish population in America which is involved. Indeed from articles I have read the Jewish community which tends to be gentrified and left-leaning is not absolutely supportive of Israel.

But the really strong support comes from the huge God-fearing Christian population. and this due to the fact that Israel is "the land of the Bible".

Israel gets significantly less support in Europe, especially in countries like France with large Islamic populations. British Jews, at least the non-orthodox ones tend, as in America, to be wealthy and liberal. Britain's support for Israel I suspect has more to do with its "special relationship" with America. Britain rarely parts company with the US on matters of foreign policy.

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    Your answer really misses proper references for your claims. Could you link to one of those "articles you have read"? Your other claims like "really strong support comes from the huge God-fearing Christian population" and that there is a negative correlation between Muslim population and sympathy for Israel should also be backed up by some reliable sources.
    – Philipp
    Commented Aug 25, 2016 at 14:20
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    This answer does not in any way, shape or form addresses objective economic benefits. Political causes are not what the OP asked about.
    – user4012
    Commented Aug 25, 2016 at 23:00

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