Why is it that the U.S. administration, though clearly disagreeing
with Netanyahu's handling of the peace process, refrains from
coming out squarely against the Israeli government's views?
This recurring question has no simple answer. There are, of course,
the traditional ties between the U.S. and the State of Israel,
based on common democratic values, on a shared attachment to the
Bible and, hence, on the Jewish people's destiny as the history of
the "children of Israel" is being told in the Old Testament. A
major factor strengthening these ties is joint strategic and other
interests: a U.S. senator once quipped that the yearly grant of $3
billion to Israel is a "real bargain" if one takes into
consideration that Israel is the biggest unsinkable aircraft
carrier of the U.S. in the Middle East.
But American financial assistance to Israel has lately been losing
much of its relative importance. A recent visit of Israel's finance
minister (March 1998) to the United States undersc
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