Israel: Background and Relations with the United States
LIBRARY OF CONGRESS WASHINGTON DC CONGRESSIONAL RESEARCH SERVICE
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On May 14, 1948, the State of Israel declared its independence and was immediately engaged in a war with all of its neighbors. Armed conflict has marked every decade of Israels existence. Despite its unstable regional environment, Israel has developed a vibrant parliamentary democracy, albeit with relatively fragile governments. The Kadima Party placed first in the March 28, 2006, Knesset parliament election Prime Minister Ehud Olmert formed a four-party coalition government that has been enlarged to include one more. Israel has an advanced industrial, market economy in which the government plays a substantial role. Israels foreign policy is focused largely on its region, Europe, and the United States. Since 1948, the United States and Israel have developed a close friendship based on common democratic values, religious affinities, and security interests. U.S.-Israeli bilateral relations are multidimensional. The United States is the principal proponent of the Arab-Israeli peace process, but U.S. and Israeli views have differed on various issues, such as the fate of the Golan Heights, Jerusalem, and Israeli settlements. The United States and Israel concluded a free-trade agreement in 1985, and the United States is Israels largest trading partner. Israel has historically been the largest recipient of U.S. foreign aid. The two countries also have close security relations. Other issues in U.S.-Israeli relations include Israels military sales to China, inadequate Israeli protection of U.S. intellectual property, and espionage-related cases.
- Government and Political Science