Israel: Background and Relations with the United States [Updated November 14, 2006]   [open pdf - 142KB]

From the Summary: "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 Israel's 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. […] 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 Israel's 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 Israel's military sales to China, inadequate Israeli protection of U.S. intellectual property, and espionage-related cases. This report replaces CRS [Congressional Research Service] Issue Brief IB82008, 'Israel: Background and Relations with the United States', and will be updated as developments warrant. See also CRS Report RL33530, 'Israeli-Arab Negotiations: Background, Conflicts, and U.S. Policy', CRS Report RL33566, 'Lebanon: The Israel-Hamas-Hezbollah Conflict', and CRS Report RL33222, 'U.S. Foreign Aid to Israel.'"

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, RL33476
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