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. 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 differ on some issues, such as the Golan Heights, Jerusalem, and settlements. The Bush Administration and Congress supported Israels 2006 military campaigns against Hezbollah and Hamas as acts of self-defense. Shortly after taking office in January 2009, President Obama stated that Israel is a strong ally of the United States. The United States and Israel concluded a free-trade agreement in 1985. Israel is a prominent 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, inadequate Israeli protection of U.S. intellectual property, and espionage-related cases. This report will be updated as developments warrant.
- Government and Political Science