Center for American Progress

Updating the Strategic Rationale for the U.S.-Israel Relationship

Updating the Strategic Rationale for the U.S.-Israel Relationship

Amid tumult in the Middle East, the United States and Israel should re-frame and strengthen their bilateral relationship.

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idea_bulbTensions between the United States and Israel soared earlier this month in the aftermath of the announcement of the framework agreement on Iran’s nuclear program. President Barack Obama declared that “a historic understanding with Iran” had been reached, while Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in stark contrast, stated that the understandings reached in Lausanne “threaten the survival of Israel.” Media outlets rushed to report on a tense telephone conversation between President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu and the wide gaps that exist between the leaders’ positions on the Iran issue. This divide on Iran is just the latest in a series of tumultuous episodes between the two countries.

Yet despite these differences, the United States and Israel remain closely aligned on a wide range of regional security issues, and they continue to coordinate closely on military, intelligence, and economic matters. The U.S.-Israel relationship has been the centerpiece of U.S. Middle East strategy and a main pillar of Israel’s national security strategy for decades.

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