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Samantha Putterman
By Samantha Putterman September 3, 2019

Yes, the U.S. gives billions to Israel every year – but Detroit receives federal aid, too

Does the United States federal government send Israel billions of dollars a year in aid while giving Detroit nothing?

That’s what one viral Facebook post is claiming. The post, which has gotten over 200 comments and reached nearly 10,000 shares since Aug. 16, says that the United States gives Israel "$3 billion annually" and gives Detroit "zero."

The post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)

This is a mixed claim. Israel does receive billions from the U.S. in federal aid each year, but Detroit also receives federal funds annually. 

Israel does, indeed, receive $3 billion from the U.S. annually, and has over the last decade, making it the "largest cumulative recipient of U.S. foreign assistance since World War II," according to an August 2019 report by the Congressional Research Service. 

That amount is going to go up, too. Signed in 2016, a new 10-year agreement between the two countries increased the annual aid to $3.8 billion, which will run from fiscal years 2019 to 2028, the CRS report says. Most of the money – $3.3 billion – will go to military financing.

But the part of the claim that says Detroit receives zero federal funds is plain wrong. 

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When Detroit filed for bankruptcy in 2013, the largest city to do so in the country, the federal government pledged about $300 million in assistance, although that was only a fraction of the billions the city owed. 

The amount of federal funds Detroit has gotten has fluctuated over the years and includes assistance through federal grants and programs.

According to the city’s yearly Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR), it received $109.5 million in 2015, $93.1 million in 2016, and $97.6 million in 2017 in federal funds. In 2018, the most recently available report, the city received the lowest amount in recent years at $73.2 million.

That doesn’t include other money spent by the federal government in Detroit on projects that help the community – like highways, airports and public transportation. Nor does it include any assistance provided by the federal government to residents and businesses of Detroit. 

Our ruling

A social media post says that while Israel receives $3 billion from the U.S. in aid annually, Detroit gets "zero."

It is true that Israel receives billions from the U.S. in foreign aid each year, making it the largest recipient of foreign assistance over the last several decades. 

But it is not true that Detroit gets zero dollars from the federal government. The city receives much less than Israel directly, but it routinely collects tens of millions in revenue from federal funds. And that doesn’t include all the indirect federal funding that residents of Detroit benefit from.

We rate this post Mostly False. 

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Yes, the U.S. gives billions to Israel every year – but Detroit receives federal aid, too

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