Israel

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Overview
<div> Born out of the greatest conflict of the 20th century, Israel&rsquo;s existence has long been synonymous with warfare. Hitler&rsquo;s effort to exterminate the Jewish race during World War II led to a huge exodus of Jews from Europe to Palestine, and international sympathy for those who survived the Holocaust helped support the founding of Israel in 1948. However, Israel&rsquo;s Arab neighbors, including Palestinians living in the area, were not at all sympathetic, and in fact, fiercely opposed the creation of the state of Israel. Immediately after Israel was established, Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq declared war and attacked. Israel survived this first of many conflicts, demonstrating what would become the hallmark of Israel&rsquo;s military: the ability to overcome numerical disadvantages, defeat larger enemy forces, and seize territory from its aggressors. Subsequent conflicts in 1956, 1967 and 1973 forged Israel&rsquo;s identity as a country that was determined to survive, no matter the odds.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> From the very beginning, the United States has supported the existence of Israel. Over the course of several decades, billions of dollars in American aid has flowed to the tiny Middle Eastern country, especially military hardware, in an effort to provide Israel with the finest fighting force in the region. Washington&rsquo;s resolve for backing Israel has angered many in the Arab world and in the United States. Numerous presidential administrations have tried to broker peace agreements between Israelis and Arabs, the most successful coming in the late 1970s when President Jimmy Carter helped Egypt and Israel end their hostilities toward one another as part of the Camp David Accords. Subsequent attempts by US presidents to help resolve the Palestinian issue have had much less success.</div>
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Basic Information
<div> <b>Lay of the Land:</b> Bordering the eastern Mediterranean, Israel is characterized by low plains in the north and along the coast.&nbsp;The plains give way to the arid Negev plateau in the south and rise to the 4,000-ft. slopes of Mt. Meiron in the far north near Lebanon.&nbsp;Summers are hot and dry, and winters are mild.&nbsp;Because of scant rainfall, crop irrigation is necessary.&nbsp;Nearly all the water used for this purpose is drawn from the Jordan River, which marks Israel&rsquo;s eastern boundary.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> <b>Population: </b>7.1 million</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> <b>Religions: </b>Secular (observant) Jewish 33.0%, Traditional Jewish 29.3%, Muslim 16%, Orthodox Jewish 6.8%, Haredim Jewish (ultra-orthodox) 6.0%, Christian 2.1%, Druze 1.5%, other (evangelical Christian, Messianic Jews, Jehovah&rsquo;s Witnesses) 0.5%.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> <b>Ethnic Groups:</b> Jewish 76.4%, Muslim 16%, Arab Christians 1.7%, other Christian 0.4%, Druze 1.6%, other 3.9%.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> <b>Languages:</b> Hebrew (official) 78.2%, South Levantine Arabic 14.7%, Judeo-Moroccan Arabic 4.0%, Romanian 4.0%, Eastern Yiddish 3.5%, English (official) 1.6%, Ladino 1.6%, Polish 1.6%, Judeo-Iraqi Arabic 1.6%, Hungarian 1.1%, Arabic (official).&nbsp;There are 33 living languages in Israel.</div> <p> &nbsp;</p> <div> <b>&nbsp;</b></div>
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History
<div> A Hebrew kingdom established in 1000 BC was later split into the kingdoms of Judah and Israel. The region was subsequently invaded by Assyrians, Babylonians, Egyptians, Persians, Greeks and Romans. By 135 AD, few Jews were left in Palestine, as most had scattered to other parts of the world. Palestine became a center of Christian pilgrimage after the rule of Constantine I, the first Christian emperor of Rome in the 4th century. The Arabs took Palestine from the Byzantine Empire in 634&ndash;640. Interrupted only by Christian Crusaders, Muslims ruled Palestine until the 20th century.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> As part of the Zionist movement in the 1800s, Jews began settling in Palestine as early as 1820. During World War I, British forces defeated the Turks in Palestine and governed the area under a League of Nations mandate from 1923. The effort to establish a Jewish homeland received British approval in the Balfour Declaration of 1917. During the 1930s, Jews began to flee Europe to escape Adolf Hitler and the Nazis, and they poured into Palestine. The postwar acknowledgment of the Holocaust, which killed an estimated 6 million Jews, increased international sympathy for the cause of Zionism.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Arabs in Palestine and surrounding countries bitterly opposed a proposal to partition Palestine into Arab and Jewish sectors. The British mandate to govern Palestine ended after the Second World War, and, in 1947, the UN voted to partition Palestine. When the British officially withdrew on May 14, 1948, the Jewish National Council proclaimed the State of Israel.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> The next day, Arab forces from Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq invaded Israel, sparking the beginning of the first Arab-Israeli War. By the time a ceasefire was reached on January 7, 1949, Israel had increased its original territory by 50%, taking western Galilee, a broad corridor through central Palestine to Jerusalem, and part of modern Jerusalem.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Chaim Weizmann and David Ben-Gurion became Israel&rsquo;s first president and prime minister. The new government was admitted to the United Nations on May 11, 1949.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> The next clash with Arab neighbors came when Egypt nationalized the Suez Canal in 1956 and barred Israeli shipping. Coordinating with an Anglo-French force, Israeli troops seized the Gaza Strip and drove through the Sinai to the east bank of the Suez Canal, but withdrew under US and UN pressure.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> In the Six-Day War of 1967, Israel made pre-emptive attacks on its Arab neighbors, who were preparing to attack Israel. Simultaneous air attacks against Syrian, Jordanian, and Egyptian air bases effectively defeated the Arabs. Expanding its territory by 200%, Israel then held the Golan Heights, the West Bank of the Jordan River, Jerusalem&rsquo;s Old City, and all of the Sinai and the east bank of the Suez Canal.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> In the face of Israeli reluctance even to discuss the return of occupied territories, the fourth Arab-Israeli War erupted on October 6, 1973, with a surprise Egyptian and Syrian assault on the Jewish high holy day of Yom Kippur. Initial Arab gains were reversed when a cease-fire took effect two weeks later, but Israel suffered the deaths of 2,688 soldiers, with another 7,250 wounded..</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> A dramatic breakthrough in Arab-Israeli relations occurred on November 9, 1977, when Egypt&rsquo;s President Anwar Sadat declared his willingness to talk about reconciliation. Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin extended an invitation to the Egyptian leader to address Israel&rsquo;s legislature, the Knesset, in Jerusalem. Sadat&rsquo;s arrival in Israel four days later raised worldwide hopes, but an agreement between Egypt and Israel was not reached until the Camp David Accords in September 1978. The Knesset approved a final peace treaty in 1979, and 12 days later, on March 26, Begin and Sadat signed the document, together with President Jimmy Carter, in a White House ceremony. Israel then began its withdrawal from the Sinai.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Although Israel withdrew its last settlers from the Sinai in April 1982, the fragile Middle East peace was shattered on June 9, 1982, by a massive Israeli assault on southern Lebanon, which the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) had used as a staging ground for attacks on Israel. Israel destroyed PLO strongholds in Tyre and Sidon and reached the suburbs of Beirut. During Israel&rsquo;s occupation, allowed Lebanese Christian Phalangist militia to enter Sabra and Shatila refugee camps and stood by while the Phalangist massacred hundreds of refugees.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> A US-mediated accord between Lebanon and Israel, signed on May 17, 1983, provided for Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon. Israel eventually withdrew its troops from the Beirut area, but kept them in southern Lebanon, where occasional skirmishes continued until Israel withdrew the last of its forces in 2000.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> After decades of living under Israeli rule, Palestinians living on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip began rioting in 1987 in what became known as the intifada. Violence heightened as Israeli police cracked down and Palestinians retaliated. In 1988, the leader of the PLO, Yasir Arafat, reversed course and acknowledged Israel&rsquo;s right to exist&mdash;an important first step that eventually led to a breakthrough in Palestinian-Israeli relations the following decade.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> In 1991, Israel was struck by Iraqi missiles during the Persian Gulf War. The Israelis did not retaliate in order to preserve the international coalition against Iraq, which included key Arab states such as Saudi Arabia.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> In 1992, Yitzhak Rabin became prime minister and later halted the disputed Israeli settlement of the occupied territories. Rabin agreed to highly secretive talks in Norway with Palestinian representatives that resulted in the landmark <a href="http://www.historycentral.com/Israel/Documents/Oslo.html"><font color="#0000ff">Oslo Accords</font></a> between the PLO and the Israeli government in September 1993. The accord stipulated a five-year plan in which Palestinians of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip would gradually become self-governing. Arafat later became president of the new Palestinian Authority. In 1994, Israel signed a peace treaty with Jordan.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> On November 4, 1995, Rabin was assassinated by a Jewish extremist, jeopardizing the tenuous peace with Palestinians. Shimon Peres succeeded Rabin, but only until May 1996, when new elections brought conservative Benjamin Netanyahu to power as prime minister. Netanyahu stymied much of the Oslo Accords, contending that it offered too many concessions too fast and jeopardized Israelis&rsquo; safety.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Terrorism erupted again in 1997 when radical Hamas suicide bombers claimed the lives of more than 20 Israeli civilians. Netanyahu, accusing Arafat of lax security, retaliated with sanctions against Palestinians working in Israel, including the withholding of millions of dollars in tax revenue, a violation of the Oslo Accords. Netanyahu also persisted in authorizing Israelis to build new settlements in mostly Arab East Jerusalem. Arafat, meanwhile, seemed unwilling or unable to curb the violence of extremist Arabs.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> An October 1998 summit resulted in new agreements between the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority. The peace agreement, however, began unraveling almost immediately due to more violence in the region between Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) and Hezbollah guerrillas in Lebanon.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Labor Party leader Ehud Barak won the 1999 election and announced that he planned not only to pursue peace with the Palestinians, but to establish relations with Syria and reach a peace accord. But the talks broke down when Syria demanded the return of all of the Golan Heights. New Hezbollah attacks on Israeli troops in southern Lebanon led to Israel&rsquo;s retaliatory bombing, as well as Barak&rsquo;s decision to pull out of Lebanon on May 24, 2000, after 18 consecutive years of occupation.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> On September 28, 2000, Likud Party leader Ariel Sharon visited the compound called Temple Mount by Jews and Haram al-Sharif by Muslims, a fiercely contested site that is sacred to both faiths. The visit set off the worst violence in years, killing around 400 people, mostly Palestinians. The violence (dubbed the al-Aqsa intifada) and the stalled peace process fueled growing concerns about Israeli security, paving the way for hard-liner Sharon&rsquo;s stunning landslide victory over Barak on February 6, 2001. Violence on both sides continued at an alarming rate. Palestinians carried out some of the most horrific suicide bombings and terrorist attacks in years, killing Israeli civilians at caf&eacute;s, bus stops, and supermarkets. In retaliation, Israel unleashed bombing raids on Palestinian territory and sent troops and tanks to occupy West Bank and Gaza cities.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Despite promising developments in spring 2003, violence continued and in September the first Palestinian Prime Minister, Mahmoud Abbas, resigned after failing to restore law and order and reform Palestinian institutions. In response to the deadlock, Prime Minister Sharon put forward his Gaza disengagement initiative, proposing the withdrawal of Israeli settlements from Gaza, as well as from parts of the northern West Bank. On August 15, 2005, Israel began implementing its disengagement from the Gaza Strip, and the Israeli Defense Forces completed their withdrawal, including the dismantling of 17 settlements.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> The United States brokered an agreement on movement and access between Israel and Palestinian territory in November 2005 to facilitate progress on Palestinian economic issues. But then Hamas won a majority in the January 2006 Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) elections, with Hamas leader Ismail Haniya becoming prime minister. The Israeli leadership pledged not to work with a Palestinian government in which Hamas had a role.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> In July 2006 Israel carried out air and ground assaults against Lebanon to go after Hezbollah. The attacks were widely criticized around the world. Unlike earlier offensives, this time Israeli forces failed to achieve their objectives and subsequently withdrew by the end of the month.</div> <div> <b>&nbsp;</b></div> <div> Despite several negotiated cease-fires between Hamas and Fatah, violent clashes in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank occurred between December 2006 and February 2007 and resulted in dozens of deaths and injuries. In an attempt to end the intra-Palestinian violence, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia invited Palestinian rivals to Mecca, and on February 9, 2007, Abbas and Hamas leader Haniya agreed to the formation of a Palestinian national unity government and a cessation of violence.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> But in June 2007, Hamas launched rocket attacks into southern Israel. On June 14, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas declared a state of emergency, dissolved the national unity government, and replaced it with a new government with Salam Fayyad as prime minister. Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak then returned to politics, having been elected head of the Labor Party. He defeated Parliament member Ami Ayalon.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Israeli jets fired on targets deep inside Syria in September 2007 in an effort to destroy a partially built nuclear reactor.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> On January 30 2008, the Winograd Commission released its <a href="http://online.wsj.com/public/resources/documents/winogradreport-04302007.pdf"><font color="#0000ff">final report</font></a> (PDF) on Israel&rsquo;s 2006 war against Hezbollah in Lebanon. It called the operation a &ldquo;large and serious&rdquo; failure and criticized the country&rsquo;s leadership for failing to have an exit strategy in place before the invasion began.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Prime Minister Ehud Olmert faced legal difficulties beginning in May 2008, when he faced accusations that he accepted hundreds of thousands dollars in bribes from a New York businessman. Olmert said the funds were campaign contributions. Olmert resigned in September, leaving Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni as head of Olmert&rsquo;s party, Kadima.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> <a href="http://lcweb2.loc.gov/frd/cs/iltoc.html"><font color="#0000ff">Library of Congress Country Study</font></a></div> <div> <a href="http://www.eretzyisroel.org/%7Ejkatz/"><font color="#0000ff">History of Israel, from 1850-present</font></a> (eretztisroel.org)</div> <div> <a href="http://www.sixdaywar.org/"><font color="#0000ff">Six-Day War</font></a> (Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America)</div> <div> <a href="http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/History/73_War.html"><font color="#0000ff">The Yom Kippur War</font></a> (by Mitchell Bard, Jewish Virtual Library)</div> <div> <a href="http://www.jimmycarterlibrary.org/documents/campdavid/"><font color="#0000ff">Camp David Accords</font></a> (Jimmy Carter Presidential Library)</div> <p> &nbsp;</p>
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Israel's Newspapers
<div> <a href="http://www.onlinenewspapers.com/israel.htm"><font color="#0000ff">Israel&rsquo;s Newspapers</font></a></div>
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History of U.S. Relations with Israel
<div> The United States officially recognized the state of Israel on May 14, 1948, when the Jewish National Council proclaimed Israel&rsquo;s sovereignty. Since then the US has remained a strong ally of Israel&rsquo;s, providing significant amounts of military and economic aid.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Large-scale American military and economic assistance began during the October 1973 War, with a massive American airlift of vital military material to Israel at the height of the war. From 1948 through 1985, the US provided Israel with $10 billion in economic assistance and $21 billion in military assistance.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> The United States-Israeli relationship has not been free of friction, such as the Liberty and Pollard incidents. The USS <i>Liberty</i>, an American intelligence-gathering ship, was steaming off the coast of Israel during the Six Day War when Israeli jets attacked the ship, mistaking it for an Egyptian vessel. Thirty-four US personnel were killed in the attack, and another 171 were wounded. In the late 1980s, the United States expressed indignation with Israel over an espionage operation involving <a href="http://www.trutv.com/library/crime/terrorists_spies/spies/pollard/1.html"><font color="#0000ff">Jonathan Jay Pollard</font></a>, an American naval employee who was sentenced to life imprisonment in 1987 for selling hundreds of vital intelligence documents to Israel. During the spying, Israeli government and diplomatic personnel in Washington served as Pollard&rsquo;s contacts.&nbsp;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Washington has tried to balance its ties to Jerusalem with its overall Middle Eastern interests and the need to negotiate an end to the Arab-Israeli conflict. In June 1970, the Rogers Plan, named after Secretary of State William P. Rogers, succeeded in ending the war of attrition between Israel and Egypt that followed the June 1967 war and established a cease-fire along the Suez Canal. In 1971 Assistant Secretary of State Joseph P. Sisco proposed an &ldquo;interim Suez Canal agreement&rdquo; to bring about a limited Israeli withdrawal from the canal, hoping that such an action would lead to a peace settlement. The proposal failed when neither Israel nor Egypt would agree to the other&rsquo;s conditions.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> In October 1973, at the height of the Arab-Israeli war, American-Soviet negotiations paved the way for UN Security Council Resolution 338. In addition to calling for an immediate cease-fire and opening negotiations aimed at implementing Resolution 242, this resolution inserted a requirement that future talk be conducted between the Arabs and Israelis.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> In September 1975, Secretary of State Henry Kissinger&rsquo;s &ldquo;shuttle diplomacy&rdquo; achieved the Second Sinai Disengagement Agreement between Israel and Egypt, laying the groundwork for later negotiations between the two nations. Another major American initiative came in 1977 when President Jimmy Carter stressed the need to solve the Arab-Israeli conflict by convening an international peace conference in Geneva. Negotiations ultimately led to the signing to the Camp David Accords. The accords included provisions that called for granting autonomy to Palestinians in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip through a freely elected self-governing authority during a five-year transitional period.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Following Israel&rsquo;s invasion of Lebanon in June 1982, President Ronald Reagan outlined what came to be called the Reagan Plan. This plan upheld the goals of the Camp David Accords regarding autonomy for the Palestinians of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip and disapproved of Israel&rsquo;s establishment of any new settlements in these areas.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> During the Reagan administration, the US-Israeli relationship was significantly upgraded. In November 1983, the two countries established a Joint Political-Military Group to coordinate military exercises and security planning as well as to position American military equipment in Israel for use by American forces in the event of a crisis. In 1985 Israel and the United States concluded the <a href="http://tcc.export.gov/Trade_Agreements/All_Trade_Agreements/exp_005439.asp"><font color="#0000ff">United States-Israel Free Trade Area Agreement</font></a> to provide tariff-free access to American and Israeli goods. Also in 1985 the two countries established a Joint Economic Development Group to help Israel solve its economic problems; in 1986 they created a Joint Security Assistance Group to discuss aid issues. Also in 1986, Israel began participating in research and development programs relating to the US Strategic Defense Initiative (aka &ldquo;Star Wars&rdquo;).</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> In January 1987, the United States designated Israel a major non-NATO ally, with status similar to that of Australia and Japan. Two months later, Israel agreed to the construction of a Voice of America relay transmitter on its soil to broadcast programs to the Soviet Union. In December 1987, Israel signed a memorandum of understanding allowing it to bid on United States defense contracts on the same basis as NATO countries. Finally, the two countries signed a memorandum of agreement in April 1988 formalizing existing arrangements for mutually beneficial United States-Israel technology transfers.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Israel has also cooperated with the United States on a number of clandestine operations. It acted as a secret channel for US arms sales to Iran in 1985 and 1986 and during the same period it cooperated with the Reagan administration in Central America (as part of the Iran-Contra scandal).</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> In October 1991, the US helped arrange the Madrid Conference, in which Israeli, Lebanese, Jordanian, Syrian, and Palestinian leaders laid the foundations for ongoing negotiations designed to bring peace and economic development to the region. Within this framework, Israel and the PLO signed a <a href="http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Peace/dop.html"><font color="#0000ff">Declaration of Principles</font></a> on September 13, 1993, which established an ambitious set of objectives relating to a transfer of authority from Israel to an interim Palestinian authority. Israel and the PLO subsequently signed the <a href="http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/Peace%20Process/Guide%20to%20the%20Peace%20Process/Main%20Points%20of%20Gaza-Jericho%20Agremeent"><font color="#0000ff">Gaza-Jericho Agreement</font></a> and the <a href="http://www.state.gov/p/nea/rls/22677.htm"><font color="#0000ff">Agreement on Preparatory Transfer of Powers and Responsibilities</font></a> which began the process of transferring authority from Israel to the Palestinians. On October 26, 1994, Israel and Jordan signed a historic <a href="http://www.kinghussein.gov.jo/peacetreaty.html"><font color="#0000ff">peace treaty</font></a>, witnessed by President Bill Clinton.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> President Clinton attended the funeral of assassinated Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in Jerusalem on November 6, 1995. Following a March 14, 1996 visit to Israel, President Clinton offered $100 million in aid for Israel&rsquo;s anti-terror activities, another $200 million for the Arrow anti-missile deployment, and about $50 million for an anti-missile laser weapon. Clinton disagreed with Prime Minister Netanyahu&rsquo;s policy of expanding Jewish settlements in the occupied territories. Clinton hosted negotiations at the Wye River Conference Center in Maryland, ending with the signing of an <a href="http://www.state.gov/www/regions/nea/981023_interim_agmt.html"><font color="#0000ff">agreement</font></a> on October 23, 1998. Israel suspended implementation of the Wye agreement in early December 1998 because Prime Minister Netanyahu said the Palestinians violated the Wye Agreement by threatening to declare a state (Palestinian statehood was not mentioned in Wye).</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Ehud Barak was elected prime minister in 1999. President Clinton and Prime Minister Barak appeared to establish close personal relations during four days of meetings between July 15 and 20 in what many observers believed was a clear reversal of the less than friendly relations between Clinton and Netanyahu. Clinton mediated meetings between Prime Minister Barak and PLO Chairman Yasir Arafat at the White House, Oslo, Shepherdstown, Camp David, and Sharm al-Shaykh.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> <a href="http://lcweb2.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/r?frd/cstdy:@field%28DOCID+il0186%29"><font color="#0000ff"><span>Military Cooperation with the United States</span></font></a> (Library of Congress)</div> <div> <a href="http://www.jonathanpollard.org/"><font color="#0000ff">Jonathan Pollard Official Website</font></a></div>
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Current U.S. Relations with Israel
<div> Commitment to Israel&rsquo;s security has been a cornerstone of US policy in the Middle East since Israel&rsquo;s founding in 1948. Israel and the United States are bound closely by historic and cultural ties, as well as by mutual interests. On a bilateral level, relations between the United States and Israel include the Joint Political-Military Group, the <a href="http://www.bsf.org.il/Public/homepage/homePage.asp"><font color="#0000ff">Binational Science Foundation</font></a> and the <a href="http://www.bard-isus.com/"><font color="#0000ff">Binational Agricultural Research and Development Foundation</font></a>; the <a href="http://www.fulbright.org.il/en"><font color="#0000ff">US-Israeli Education Foundation</font></a>, which sponsors educational and cultural programs; the Joint Economic Development Group, which maintains a high-level dialogue on economic issues; the Joint Counterterrorism Group, designed to enhance cooperation in fighting terrorism; and a high-level Strategic Dialogue that meets biannually.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> President George W. Bush and Prime Minister Ariel Sharon established good relations in their March and June 2001 meetings. But on October 4, 2001, Sharon accused the Bush Administration of appeasing the Palestinians at Israel&rsquo;s expense in a bid for Arab support for the US anti-terror campaign. The White House said the remark was unacceptable. Rather than apologize for the remark, Sharon said the United States failed to understand him. Also, the United States criticized the Israeli practice of killing Palestinians believed to be engaged in terrorism, which appeared to some Israelis to be inconsistent with the US policy of pursuing international terrorist Osama bin Ladin &ldquo;dead or alive.&rdquo;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> At their seventh White House meeting on October 16, 2002, the two leaders discussed the possible US invasion of Iraq and Israel&rsquo;s restrictions on the Palestinians, according to press accounts. At their April 14, 2004, White House meeting, President Bush agreed with Prime Minister Sharon&rsquo;s plan for a unilateral withdrawal from Gaza and some West Bank areas, Israel&rsquo;s retaining settlements in the West Bank, Israel&rsquo;s position that the Palestinian refugees did not have the &ldquo;right of return,&rdquo; and Israel&rsquo;s construction of a wall between Palestinian areas and Israeli areas.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> While recent US administrations have disapproved of Israel&rsquo;s settlement activity, President Bush noted the need to take into account the realities of major Israeli population centers, asserting it is unrealistic to expect Israel to rollback its borders to those before the first Arab-Israeli war in the late 1948.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> During times of violence, US officials have urged Israel to withdraw as rapidly as possible from Palestinian areas retaken in security operations. The Bush administration has insisted that UN Security Council resolutions be balanced by criticizing Palestinian as well as Israeli violence and has vetoed resolutions which do not meet that standard.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> A total of 106,839 people identified themselves as being of Israeli ancestry in the 2000 US census. This figure drastically underestimates the number of Israelis living in the US because many Israelis emigrated from countries other than Israel or had their nation of birth listed on immigration documents. At least 800,000 Israelis came to the US between 1950 and 1980, with the largest wave arriving after the 1973 Yom Kippur War.&nbsp;New York and Los Angeles host more than half the nation&rsquo;s Jewish Israeli population, while Israeli Arabs have congregated in Midwestern cities like Chicago and Detroit.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> In 2006 493,971 Americans visited Israel. More Americans have visited Israel every year since 2002, when 206,060 Americans journeyed to Israel. That same year 283,889 Israelis visited the US The number of tourists has fluctuated between a low of 249,034 (2003) and a high of 284,310 (2005) between 2002 and 2006.&nbsp;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> <a href="http://www.policyalmanac.org/world/archive/crs_israeli-us_relations.shtml"><font color="#0000ff">Israeli-United States Relations</font></a> (Almanac of Policy Issues)</div> <div> <a href="http://www.fas.org/man/crs/IB82008.pdf"><font color="#0000ff">Israeli-United States Relations</font></a> (by Clyde R. Mark, Congressional Research Service)</div> <div> <a href="http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/ustoc.html"><font color="#0000ff">US-Israel Relations</font></a> (Jewish Virtual Library)</div>
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Where Does the Money Flow
<div> The United States is Israel&rsquo;s most important trading partner, buying almost 40% of Israel&rsquo;s total export shipments (the second biggest buyer of Israeli goods is Belgium at 6.5%). Israel&rsquo;s imports are less concentrated; however the US is still the biggest seller, at 12.4%.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> While trade between the United States and Israel involves dozens of million-dollar commodities, bilateral trade is dominated by gem diamonds. From 2003 to 2007, the US bought an average of $8 billion in uncut and unset diamonds, by far the largest import. American jewelry merchants then turned around and sold more than $3 billion each year back to Israel, making it the most profitable American export to Israel.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Other top imports from Israel to the US in 2007 were dental, medical and pharmaceutical preparations ($2.7 billion), telecommunications equipment ($746.8 million), complete civilian aircraft ($685.9 million), other hospital, medical and scientific equipment&nbsp;($655 million), electric apparatus and parts ($385.6 million), civilian aircraft engines ($370.5 million), measuring, testing and control instruments ($337.1 million), other military equipment ($271.3 million) and computer accessories, peripherals and parts ($254.6 million).</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Other military equipment also represented the fast growing Israeli export to the US from 2006 to 2007 (up 223.2%). Other fast risers were business machinery and equipment excluding computers (up 128.2%), sulfur and non-metallic minerals (up 117.5%), household and kitchen appliances (up 104.8%) and nickel (up 70.4%).</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> The fastest growing US exports to Israel were complete civilian aircraft (up 971.1%), barley, oats and sorghum (up 736%), manufactured wood supplies (up 264.2%), dairy products and eggs (up 184.3%) and buses, trucks and special purpose vehicles (up 135.2%).</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> The US gave $2.46 billion in aid to Israel in 2007.&nbsp;This was divided amongst Foreign Military Financing ($2.34 billion), Trade and Investment ($120 million) and Counter-Terrorism ($240,000). The 2008 budget estimate decreased aid slightly, to $2.38 billion. The 2009 budget will return aid to higher levels, with $2.55 billion in funding.&nbsp;For both 2008 and 2009, all funds are dedicated to Foreign Military Financing.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Additionally, the US funds the Multinational Force and Observers (<a href="http://www.mfo.org/2/homepage.asp"><font color="#0000ff">MFO</font></a>), which monitors the peace agreement between Egypt and Israel. The U.S spent $21 million on the MFO in 2007, $24.8 million in 2008, and will spend $21.8 million in 2009. (<a href="http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/101368.pdf"><font color="#0000ff">pages 582-583 of the Foreign Operations Budget</font></a>).</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> The US sold $802 million in defense articles and services to Israel in 2007. Billions of dollars in military hardware has been sold to Israel over the past four decades. From the most sophisticated warplanes to tank engines, artillery systems and armored vehicles, the United States is Israel&rsquo;s &ldquo;one-stop shopping center,&rdquo; buying F-16s fighter planes, Apache attack helicopters, Cobra attack helicopters, Black Hawk transport helicopters, Popeye air-to-surface missiles (made by Lockheed Martin), and Maverick air-to-surface missiles (produced by Hughes and Raytheon).</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> The US also funds a few programs encouraging positive Arab-Israeli relations, namely the Middle East Regional Cooperation Program (<a href="http://www.usaid.gov/locations/asia_near_east/merc06.html"><font color="#0000ff">MERC</font></a>) and the Middle East Multilaterals Program (MEM).&nbsp;These programs received $6 million in 2007, $5 million in 2008, and will receive $3 million in 2009.&nbsp;(<a href="http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/101368.pdf"><font color="#0000ff">pages 580-581 of the Foreign Operations Budget</font></a>)</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> <a href="http://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/statistics/product/enduse/imports/c5081.html"><font color="#0000ff">Imports from Israel</font></a></div> <div> <a href="http://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/statistics/product/enduse/exports/c5081.html"><font color="#0000ff">Exports to Israel</font></a></div> <div> <a href="http://www.state.gov/t/pm/64711.htm"><font color="#0000ff">Israel: Security Assistance </font></a></div> <div> <a href="http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/101368.pdf"><font color="#0000ff">Congressional Budget for Foreign Operations (pages 546-547)</font></a> (PDF)</div> <div> <a href="http://import-export.suite101.com/article.cfm/top_israeli_imports_exports"><font color="#0000ff">Top Israeli Imports &amp; Exports</font></a> (Suite101.com)</div> <div> <a href="http://www.commondreams.org/views02/0509-07.htm"><font color="#0000ff">US Arms Sales to Israel End Up In China, Iraq</font></a> (by Jonathan Reingold, Common Dreams.org)</div>
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Controversies
<div> <b>Israel Tries to Block US Arms Sales to Saudi Arabia</b></div> <div> A major arms-sale package that the Bush administration planned in 2007 to offer Saudi Arabia and other Persian Gulf allies was delayed because of objections from Israel, which argued that the advanced weaponry would erode its military advantage over its regional rivals. Israeli officials traveled to Washington to lobby against elements of the planned sales. In particular, the Israelis were concerned about the possible transfer of precision-guided weapons that would give Saudi warplanes much more accurate ability to strike targets. The United States has made few, if any, sales of satellite-guided ordnance to Gulf countries, while Israel has been supplied with such weapons since the 1990s and used them extensively in its war against Hezbollah in 2006. The American officials did not provide a dollar figure for the planned sales. But one American defense industry executive said that if all the equipment under discussion with the Saudis and other Gulf countries was eventually sold&mdash;including tanks, warships and advanced air defense systems&mdash;the deal would run from $5 billion to $10 billion. In January 2008 President Bush went ahead and pledged a $20 billion weapons package that would include 900 precision-guided &ldquo;smart&rdquo; bombs.</div> <div> <a href="http://www.military.com/NewsContent/0,13319,159984,00.html"><font color="#0000ff">Bush Delivers Arms Sale to Saudi Arabia</font></a> (by Matthew Lee and Anne Flaherty, Associated Press)</div> <div> <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/05/world/middleeast/05weapons.html"><font color="#0000ff">Israel&rsquo;s Protests Are Said to Stall Gulf Arms Sale </font></a>(by David S. Cloud and Helene Cooper, New York Times)</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> <b>Jewish Lobby Article and Book Create Storm of Controversy </b></div> <div> Two US academics, John Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago and Stephen Walt of Harvard, published a book in 2007 that set out to analyze the power of the so-called &ldquo;Jewish Lobby&rdquo; in Washington that has reportedly contributed to staunch American support for Israel over the decades. The book, <i><a href="http://www.amazon.com/Israel-Lobby-U-S-Foreign-Policy/dp/0374531501/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&amp;s=books&amp;qid=1226578447&amp;sr=1-1"><font color="#0000ff">The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy</font></a></i>, followed a 2006 <a href="http://www.lrb.co.uk/v28/n06/mear01_.html"><font color="#0000ff">article</font></a> the two had written in the London Review of Books.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> According to Mearsheimer and Walt, the US gets remarkably little in return for its help to Israel.</div> <div> They rejected the argument that Israel was a key ally in America&rsquo;s &ldquo;war on terror.&rdquo; On the contrary, they contended US patronage of Israel fuels militant anger and fosters resentment in Arab countries that control vital oil supplies. They said the real reason behind US support for Israel is domestic&mdash;the activities of the right-wing American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), and like-minded groups and think tanks.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> The book analyzed the lobby&rsquo;s sources of influence, notably its financial muscle and the reluctance of critics to speak out. Pro-Israeli contributions to US campaigns dwarf those of Arab-Americans or Muslim groups.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Numerous critics lashed out at the authors. &ldquo;Their conclusions are classic anti-Semitic canards&mdash;such as control of foreign policy against the interest of the US, the Jews controlling the media and getting America into war,&rdquo; ADL director Abraham Foxman told the BBC News.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> In a fierce critique of the book, Israeli historian Benny Morris wrote in the New Republic: &ldquo;Were &lsquo;<i>The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy</i>&rsquo; an actual person, I would have to say that he did not have a single honest bone in his body.&rdquo;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Virtually all reviews of the book in the mainstream US press were negative. &ldquo;They have often misrepresented our arguments badly or tried to smear us by either saying or hinting that we are anti-Semitic,&rdquo; Walt told the BBC News.</div> <div> <a href="http://www.scribemedia.org/2006/10/11/israel-lobby/"><font color="#0000ff">The Israel Lobby: Does it Have Too Much Influence on US Foreign Policy?&mdash;A Debate</font></a> (scribemedia.org)</div> <div> <a href="http://www.lrb.co.uk/v28/n06/mear01_.html"><font color="#0000ff">The Israel Lobby</font></a> (by John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt. London Review of Books)</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> <b>US Imposes Sanctions on Israel Over Arms Sales to China</b></div> <div> The United States imposed sanctions on Israel in 2005 after a dispute over Israel&rsquo;s sale of unmanned aerial vehicles to China. The US suspended co-operation on several development projects and froze delivery of night-vision equipment. The sanctions were approved by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. The US believed that Israeli officials lied to them about the export of Harpy Killer drones to China. The officials claimed that Israel was merely refurbishing old drones which had been exported with American consent. The US argued that the drones had been upgraded using new technology which it had shared with Israel. The US feared that China might use the military equipment to help settle longstanding territorial and political disputes by the threat and use of force. China has repeatedly threatened Taiwan with attack if it declares independence, and South Korea and Japan are concerned about China translating its size into military power.</div> <div> <a href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2005/jun/13/usa.israel"><font color="#0000ff">US acts over Israeli arms sales to China</font></a> (by Conal Urquhart, The Guardian)</div>
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Human Rights
<p> According to the State Department&rsquo;s latest report, human rights problems in Israel have been concentrated around inequalities between Jewish-Israelis and their Arab counterparts, residents of the Occupied Territories faring much worse than Israeli citizens.&nbsp;The escalated conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza highlighted these inequalities and abuses.&nbsp;</p> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> The report summarized that, &ldquo;the government generally respected the human rights of its citizens, although there were problems in some areas. There were several high-profile cases involving corruption by political leaders. Institutional, legal, and societal discrimination against Arabs, non-Orthodox Jews, and other religious groups continued, as did societal discrimination against persons with disabilities. Women suffered societal discrimination and domestic violence. The government maintained unequal educational systems for Arab and Jewish students. Trafficking in and abuse of women and foreign workers remained a problem, as did societal discrimination against persons with disabilities.&rdquo;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Numerous prominent political figures were under investigation and prosecuted throughout the year for misconduct.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> &ldquo;On April 1, Member of Knesset (MK) Shlomo Benizri was convicted of bribery, fraud, and breach of trust for crimes committed between 1996 and 2001 when he was minister of health and minister of social affairs. Benizri was sentenced to 18 months&#39; imprisonment and an 80,000 NIS ($23,000) fine.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> &ldquo;On June 4, prosecutors indicted former finance minister Avraham Hirchson, who resigned from the cabinet in July 2007, on charges of bribery and aggravated fraud, money laundering, breach of trust, and falsifying corporate documents. The case continued at year&#39;s end.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> &ldquo;During the year the state comptroller and attorney general investigated Prime Minister Olmert for a range of alleged crimes, including fraud, bribery, breach of trust, money laundering, and tax offenses. Six separate criminal investigations were under way throughout the year, one of which was closed for lack of evidence on December 4. No charges had been filed by year&#39;s end. The public reaction to the allegations forced Prime Minister Olmert to announce his resignation on September 20.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> &ldquo;Criminal investigations or trials of other officials, including Finance Minister Ronnie Bar-On, MK Tzachi Hanegbi, MK Ruhama Avraham, MK Yaakov Edri, MK Yitzhak Ziv, and numerous senior law enforcement and civil service officials continued throughout the year.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> &ldquo;On February 27, former MK Omri Sharon began serving a seven- month prison sentence following a 2005 conviction on corruption and fraud charges for crimes committed during the 1999 Likud party primary campaign of his father, former prime minister Ariel Sharon. Omri Sharon was released after five months for good behavior.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> &ldquo;On April 8, former president Moshe Katsav withdrew from a plea bargain he had agreed to in 2007. Women&#39;s rights activists and government transparency NGOs had opposed the plea bargain, which carried convictions for indecent acts and sexual harassment but dropped two rape charges against him and imposed a suspended prison sentence. At year&#39;s end no charges had been refiled.&rdquo;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Women continue to suffer from incidences of domestic violence with nearly 13,612 complaints filed by September. The State Department report notes that, &ldquo;the Mahut Feminist Center in Haifa reported that more than 65 percent of employees in part-time jobs were women, more than 35 percent of working women earned minimum wage or less (compared to 14.2 percent of working men), and women made up 70 percent of employees working in contractor companies that provided lower wages, lack of employment stability, and no social benefits.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> &ldquo;The Commission for Equal Rights of People with Disabilities (CERPD) within the Justice Ministry took legal action in the areas of accessibility and employment. In a 2007 study, the CERPD found that 85 percent of employers do not employ any persons with disabilities, and 25 percent of employees stated they had no interest in employing such a person in the future.&rdquo;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> The Israeli education system has long suffered criticism that Jewish children receive much more academic resources than their Arab counterparts. &ldquo;The State Comptroller&#39;s February 10 report on local governments noted that in the 28 Arab communities surveyed, there was a combined shortage of 1,082 classrooms in local schools. In June a joint committee of the Education Ministry and the Higher Arab Monitoring Committee reported the Arab sector would need an additional 9,236 classrooms by 2012 to keep pace with national standards.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> &ldquo;Arab Israelis were underrepresented in most fields of employment, including government, despite a five-year-old affirmative action program to promote hiring Arab Israelis (including Druze and Bedouin) in the civil service. According to the government, 6.2 percent of government employees in 2007 were Arab.&rdquo;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Prison conditions were generally regarded as meeting international standards; however, overcrowding remains a major problem.&nbsp;The State Department report focused on the Public Defender&rsquo;s Office 2007 report detailing prison conditions in Israeli. &ldquo;The report revealed that in one-third of prisons visited, inmates and detainees complained that guards regularly treated them with violence, threats, and humiliation. The report applauded the IPS for creating a special team to deal with shortcomings in the previous year&#39;s report but noted that almost nothing had been accomplished to improve conditions.&nbsp;Human rights groups allege that the Ministry of Justice failed to adequately investigate complaints filed against police officers by Arab Israelis and Palestinians.&rdquo;&nbsp;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Israeli law affords religious freedom and allows &ldquo;recognized communities&rdquo; to implement their own laws with regard to personal matters.&nbsp;However, Jewish communities receive a greater amount of funding for religious services and institutions.&nbsp;&ldquo;According to government figures, the Jewish population received approximately 1.6 billion NIS ($457 million). Religious minorities, which comprised slightly more than 20% of the population, received approximately 65 million NIS ($18.6 million), or just less than 4% of total funding.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> &ldquo;There were also reports of societal abuses or discrimination based on religious belief or practice.&nbsp;The legal defense NGO Jerusalem Institute of Justice (JIJ) also alleged that MOI officials denied services to certain citizens based on their religious beliefs, most of which included the revoking of citizenship or failure to process immigration applications. During the year there were numerous reports of foreign nationals with Arab or Muslim names subjected to harsh and degrading treatment at border crossings.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> &ldquo;An August 4 Physicians for Human Rights-Israel report accused the ISA of preventing Palestinians from leaving Gaza to seek medical treatment in Israel or abroad unless they agreed to become informers for Israeli intelligence. According to testimony collected in the report, the ISA used blackmail and coercion to elicit cooperation from gravely ill patients, some of whom required urgent treatment for life-threatening illnesses. The ISA denied the allegation.&rdquo;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Human Rights Watch maintained that, &ldquo;Israel&#39;s blockade of Gaza and restrictions on movement to protect illegal West Bank settlements, along with indiscriminate Palestinian rocket attacks on Israeli towns and serious abuses by Fatah and Hamas against each other&#39;s supporters, were major components of the human rights crisis in the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories in 2008.&rdquo;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> The State Department concluded that, &ldquo;there were reports of Palestinian Authority torture, arbitrary and prolonged detention, poor prison conditions, insufficient measures to prevent attacks by terrorist groups, impunity, corruption, and lack of transparency. Domestic abuse of women, societal discrimination against women and persons with disabilities, and child labor remained serious problems. In Gaza there were reports that Hamas security forces continued to kill, torture, kidnap, arrest, and harass Fatah members and other Palestinians with impunity. Hamas and other Palestinian factions in Gaza shelled civilian targets in Israel.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> &ldquo;Both Israeli and Palestinian nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) reported that Israeli authorities used excessive force, abused civilians and detainees, tortured Palestinian detainees, failed to take proper disciplinary actions, improperly applied security internment procedures, maintained austere and overcrowded detention facilities, imposed severe restrictions on internal and external freedom of movement, and limited cooperation with NGOs. A partially completed Israeli-built separation barrier isolated portions of the West Bank and restricted Palestinian movement and access to West Bank land west of the barrier.&rdquo;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Human Rights Watch noted that, &ldquo;Palestinian civilians accounted for around half of those killed in Israeli military operations in Gaza prior to a June ceasefire between Hamas and Israel. More Palestinians were killed in Gaza by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) in the first half of the year than in all of 2007 in both the West Bank and Gaza.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> &ldquo;Between January and June 2008, Israeli forces conducting military operations killed 388 Palestinian fighters and civilians in Gaza, about half of whom were civilians; 59 of the dead were children. Israeli forces killed 41 Palestinians in the West Bank between January and the end of October, of whom at least 15 were civilians. The largest Israeli military operation, between February 27 and March 3 in Gaza, killed 107 Palestinians, more than half of them civilians. Human Rights Watch examined one area occupied by Israeli troops during the operation and found strong evidence in four incidents that Israeli forces deliberately fired at and killed five civilians, medical personnel, and incapacitated fighters. In other attacks, Israeli forces did not appear to take all feasible precautions to ensure targets were military and not civilian.&rdquo;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> The State Department highlighted Israeli restrictions on the press by noting that, &ldquo;the government prohibited Israeli journalists from entering the Gaza Strip, and those who did were subject to legal penalties such as fines and restraining orders. In early November the government also started preventing foreign journalists from entering the Gaza Strip. On November 24, the Foreign Press Association (FPA) in Israel filed a petition to the High Court requesting that it overturn the ban on foreign journalists entering the Gaza Strip. On December 31, the High Court ruled in favor of the FPA petition. The government had not complied at year&#39;s end.&rdquo;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> A fact-finding mission headed by Justice Richard Goldstone has been approved by the United Nations to investigate allegations of serious violations of the laws of war in Gaza and southern Israel.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> &ldquo;Human Rights Watch has reported on serious violations of the laws of war by the IDF, most recently the firing of white phosphorous munitions into densely populated areas of Gaza, as well as a protracted blockade of the Gaza Strip - a policy that amounts to the unlawful collective punishment of the civilian population.&nbsp;The IDF has declared that it used white phosphorous in Gaza in compliance with international humanitarian law, but Human Rights Watch&#39;s findings contradict this claim. On March 19, nine Israeli human rights organizations issued a statement strongly criticizing the Israeli government&#39;s failure to establish an independent and impartial investigative body to look at the conduct of IDF forces in Gaza.&rdquo;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> <a href="http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2008/nea/119117.htm"><font color="#0000ff">US State Department</font></a></div> <div> <a href="http://www.hrw.org/en/node/79235"><font color="#0000ff">Human Rights Watch</font></a></div>
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Debate
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Past Ambassadors
<div> James Grover McDonald<br /> Appointment: Mar 18, 1949<br /> Presentation of Credentials: Mar 28, 1949<br /> Termination of Mission: Left post, Dec 13, 1950</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Monnett B. Davis<br /> Appointment: Feb 1, 1951<br /> Presentation of Credentials: Feb 26, 1951<br /> Termination of Mission: Died at post, Dec 26, 1953</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Edward B. Lawson<br /> Appointment: Apr 9, 1954<br /> Presentation of Credentials: Nov 12, 1954<br /> Termination of Mission: Left post, Feb 17, 1959</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Ogden Rogers Reid<br /> Appointment: Jun 5, 1959<br /> Presentation of Credentials: Jul 2, 1959<br /> Termination of Mission: Left Israel, Jan 19, 1961</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Walworth Barbour<br /> Appointment: May 11, 1961<br /> Presentation of Credentials: Jun 12, 1961<br /> Termination of Mission: Left post, Jan 19, 1973</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Kenneth B. Keating<br /> Appointment: Jun 22, 1973<br /> Presentation of Credentials: Aug 28, 1973<br /> Termination of Mission: Died in New York, May 5, 1975<br /> Note: Ambassador Keating had departed Tel Aviv on Mar 31, 1975 for consultations on the reassessment of American policy in the Middle East.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Malcolm Toon<br /> Appointment: Jun 9, 1975<br /> Presentation of Credentials: Jul 10, 1975<br /> Termination of Mission: Left post, Dec 27, 1976</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Samuel L. Lewis<br /> Appointment: Apr 26, 1977<br /> Presentation of Credentials: May 25, 1977<br /> Termination of Mission: May 31, 1985</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Thomas R. Pickering<br /> Appointment: Jul 12, 1985<br /> Presentation of Credentials: Aug 6, 1985<br /> Termination of Mission: Left post, Dec 28, 1988</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> William Andreas Brown<br /> Appointment: Nov 22, 1988<br /> Presentation of Credentials: Dec 29, 1988<br /> Termination of Mission: Left post, Jan 7, 1992<br /> Note: Commissioned during a recess of the Senate; nomination of May 24, 1988 was not acted upon by the Senate. Recommissioned Oct. 2, 1989 after confirmation.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> William Caldwell Harrop<br /> Appointment: Nov 21, 1991<br /> Presentation of Credentials: Jan 21, 1992<br /> Termination of Mission: Left post, May 7, 1993</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Edward P. Djerejian<br /> Appointment: Nov 22, 1993<br /> Presentation of Credentials: Jan 13, 1994<br /> Termination of Mission: Left post, Aug 9, 1994</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Martin S. Indyk<br /> Appointment: Mar 4, 1995<br /> Presentation of Credentials: Apr 10, 1995<br /> Termination of Mission: Left post, Sep 27, 1997</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Edward S. Walker, Jr.<br /> Appointment: Nov 10, 1997<br /> Presentation of Credentials: Dec 24, 1997<br /> Termination of Mission: Left post Jan 23, 2000</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Martin S. Indyk<br /> Appointment: Nov 16, 1999<br /> Presentation of Credentials: Jan 25, 2000<br /> Termination of Mission: Left post Jul 13, 2001</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Daniel C. Kurtzer<br /> Appointment: Jul 12, 2001<br /> Presentation of Credentials: Jul 18, 2001<br /> Termination of Mission: Left post, Jul 17, 2005</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> <a href="http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ho/po/com/10887.htm"><font color="#0000ff">Former US Ambassadors to Israel</font></a></div>
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Israel's Ambassador to the U.S.
ambassador-image Shapiro, Dan

U.S. Ambassador to Israel Daniel B. Shapiro is a long-time foreign policy professional with extensive experience dealing with issues pertaining to the Middle East. As an observant and active member of the Jewish community, Shapiro’s role has been to reassure American Jews that Obama will be a friend to their interests, including those related to Israel. He was confirmed by the Senate on May 26, 2011, sworn in on July 8, and arrived in Israel on July 21.

 
Shapiro was born in 1969 in Champaign, Illinois, one of four children of novelist Elizabeth Klein Shapiro and University of Illinois English professor Michael Shapiro. He graduated from the University Laboratory High School of Urbana, Illinois, in 1986. He then took a year off, taking Hebrew language classes at the University of Illinois, and then visiting Israel for half a year. He attended Washington University, spending his sophomore year in Israel, and transferred to Brandeis University, where in 1991 he earned a B.A. in Near Eastern and Judaic Studies, with an additional concentration in Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies. In 1993, he earned an M.A. in Middle Eastern Studies, with a focus on modern Middle Eastern history, from Harvard University. He has also studied at Hebrew University in Jerusalem. 
 
From 1993 to 1995 Shapiro served as a professional staff member on the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Europe and the Middle East under Chairman Lee Hamilton. Moving to the Senate in 1995, he was a legislative assistant and senior foreign policy adviser to Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein of California until 1999. At that time, he moved to the executive branch, and for two years sat on the National Security Council under President Bill Clinton, as director of legislative affairs and as a Congressional liaison for National Security Advisor Sandy Berger. 
 
After the 2000 elections, Shapiro returned to the Senate, serving from 2001 to 2007 as legislative advisor and then deputy chief of staff (primarily on foreign policy issues) for U.S. Senator Bill Nelson of Florida. In 2007, Shapiro jumped ship to the private sector, working from 2007 until 2008 as vice president of the Washington, D.C., lobbying firm Timmons & Company, where he lobbied on behalf of the American Petroleum Institute, which represents the interests of large oil companies. He also lobbied for Freddie Mac, Anheuser-Busch, Chrysler, VISA, Dun & Bradstreet. Cox Enterprises, the American Medical Association, the American Council of Life Insurers and the University of Miami (among others).
 
Also in 2007, Shapiro began serving as an advisor to then-Senator Barack Obama on Middle East and Jewish community issues, and assisted as a strategist and fundraiser. He accompanied Obama on his July 2008 trip to Israel, which was followed in August 2008 by Obama’s appointment of him as senior policy adviser and Jewish Outreach coordinator for his 2008 presidential campaign.
 
In January 2009, Obama appointed Shapiro Senior Director for the Middle East and North Africa at the National Security Council. From that time until September 2010, when negotiations collapsed, Shapiro visited Israel at least once a month and accompanied U.S. special envoy for Middle East Peace George J. Mitchell on all his trips to the region, taking a central role in talks regarding the failed settlement building freeze and the strengthening of military cooperation between the U.S. and Israel. He has maintained close relations with Benyamin Netanyahu, in spite of the tensions between the Israeli prime minister and President Obama.
 
Shapiro is married to Julie Fisher of Duluth, Minnesota, whom he met during college when both were serving as summer camp counselors. They have three daughters, Liat, Merav, and Shira. He speaks Hebrew and some Arabic. According to the OpenSecrets website, Shapiro has contributed $17,500 to Democratic candidates and causes since 2004, including $2,300 to the Obama presidential campaign in 2008. 
 
Champaign Native Confirmed as Ambassador to Israel (by Katherine Skiba, Chicago Tribune)

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Israel's Embassy Web Site in the U.S.
<div> <a href="http://www.israelemb.org/"><font color="#0000ff">Israel&rsquo;s Embassy in the US</font></a></div>
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U.S. Ambassador to Israel

Dermer, Ron
ambassador-image

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu of Israel, whose aggressive policies toward Palestine have raised tensions with the U.S., recently named a longtime aide known for even more hawkish views to become the country’s next ambassador to the United States. Ron Dermer, an ex-American who has been a close political advisor to Netanyahu for the past four years, once called the “two-state solution”—for decades Washington’s preferred outcome to the Israeli-Palestinian impasse—“childish.” He will succeed Michael Oren, whose term is due to end in the fall but who, according to some sources, wanted to keep his job.

 

Born in 1971 in Miami Beach, Florida, Ron Dermer is the younger son of Jay Dermer, a trial attorney from New York who was elected mayor of Miami Beach in1967, and Yaffa Rosenthal, who was born in Palestine and moved to Florida with her parents soon after Israel won its independence. Growing up in Miami Beach, Dermer suffered the loss of his father to a heart attack in 1984, just two weeks before his bar mitzvah. Dermer earned a B.A. in Finance and Management at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in 1993 and a Master’s degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Oxford University in 1996.

 

Shortly thereafter, Dermer moved to Israel and began the process of becoming an Israeli citizen. In 1998, he married artist Adi Blumberg, whose father was chairman of the Bank of Jerusalem, and their wedding was presided over by the prominent rabbinical scholar Adin Steinsaltz. Adi Blumberg died in February 2000 at the age of 29. Dermer renounced his American citizenship in 2005.

 

A political consultant for conservative Israeli politicians, in the 1999 Knesset campaign Dermer worked for Natan Sharansky, for whom he had also worked three years earlier during the 1995 Knesset election campaign. Starting in January 2001, Dermer wrote a column called “The Numbers Game” for the Jerusalem Post, and in 2004 he and Sharansky co-wrote the ironically titled book The Case For Democracy: The Power of Freedom to Overcome Tyranny and Terror, even as Sharansky gave interviews claiming that Israeli Jews, but not Arab Palestinians, had a right to a democratic state in the former territory of Palestine.

 

Since 2005, Dermer has served the government of Israel continuously. From 2005 to 2008, when Netanyahu was finance minister, Dermer served as economic envoy at the Israeli embassy in Washington. In 2008, he became a close advisor to Netanyahu, who became prime minister in April 2009. Dermer left the PM’s office in March 2013, after rumors of his possible appointment as ambassador had begun to swirl, but was not officially nominated until July 9.

 

Dermer has five children. He is married to Rhoda Pagano Dermer. The family lives in Jerusalem.

-Matt Bewig

 

To Learn More:

Biography (Wikipedia)

Ron Dermer, New Israel Envoy, Not Shy To Boast of Ties With Netanyahu: Fast-Rising Right Winger Is Pugnacious Supporter of Premier (by Ron Kampeas, Jewish Daily Forward)

Possible Future Israeli Ambassador Holds Two Countries in his Heart (by Michael Fince II, Amy Sherman and Elinor J. Brecher, Miami Herald)

Ron Dermer is Israel’s Next Ambassador: Netanyahu’s hard-hitting American-born adviser gets the nod (by Yair Rosenberg, Tablet)

When Zionism is Racism: Ron Dermer and Bibi Netanyahu, on the Record (by Larry Derfner, 972 Magazine)

Bibi’s Brain (by Allison Hoffman, Baltimore Jewish Life)

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Previous U.S. Ambassador to Israel

Cunningham, James
ambassador-image

A native of Allentown, Pennsylvania, James B. Cunningham has served as US ambassador to Israel since August 18, 2008. Cunningham graduated magna cum laude from Syracuse University, with degrees in political science and psychology. He speaks Italian, French and Spanish.
 
After early tours in Stockholm, Washington, Rome and the US Mission to NATO, he served as chief of staff to NATO Secretary General Manfred Woerner.
 
Just after Iraq invaded Kuwait in August 1990, Cunningham became deputy political counselor at the US Mission to the UN. From 1993 to 1995, he served as director of the State Department’s Office of European Security and Political Affairs. He served as deputy chief of the US Embassy in Rome from 1996 to 1999.
 
Cunningham then served as ambassador and Deputy US Permanent Representative to the United Nations (1999-2004) and Acting Permanent Representative from January to September 2001. He was US Consul General in Hong Kong, responsible for the Hong Kong and Macau Special Administrative Regions of China before becoming ambassador to Israel.
 
Cunningham holds the rank of career minister in the Foreign Service. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Asia Society.
 
 

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Overview
<div> Born out of the greatest conflict of the 20th century, Israel&rsquo;s existence has long been synonymous with warfare. Hitler&rsquo;s effort to exterminate the Jewish race during World War II led to a huge exodus of Jews from Europe to Palestine, and international sympathy for those who survived the Holocaust helped support the founding of Israel in 1948. However, Israel&rsquo;s Arab neighbors, including Palestinians living in the area, were not at all sympathetic, and in fact, fiercely opposed the creation of the state of Israel. Immediately after Israel was established, Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq declared war and attacked. Israel survived this first of many conflicts, demonstrating what would become the hallmark of Israel&rsquo;s military: the ability to overcome numerical disadvantages, defeat larger enemy forces, and seize territory from its aggressors. Subsequent conflicts in 1956, 1967 and 1973 forged Israel&rsquo;s identity as a country that was determined to survive, no matter the odds.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> From the very beginning, the United States has supported the existence of Israel. Over the course of several decades, billions of dollars in American aid has flowed to the tiny Middle Eastern country, especially military hardware, in an effort to provide Israel with the finest fighting force in the region. Washington&rsquo;s resolve for backing Israel has angered many in the Arab world and in the United States. Numerous presidential administrations have tried to broker peace agreements between Israelis and Arabs, the most successful coming in the late 1970s when President Jimmy Carter helped Egypt and Israel end their hostilities toward one another as part of the Camp David Accords. Subsequent attempts by US presidents to help resolve the Palestinian issue have had much less success.</div>
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Basic Information
<div> <b>Lay of the Land:</b> Bordering the eastern Mediterranean, Israel is characterized by low plains in the north and along the coast.&nbsp;The plains give way to the arid Negev plateau in the south and rise to the 4,000-ft. slopes of Mt. Meiron in the far north near Lebanon.&nbsp;Summers are hot and dry, and winters are mild.&nbsp;Because of scant rainfall, crop irrigation is necessary.&nbsp;Nearly all the water used for this purpose is drawn from the Jordan River, which marks Israel&rsquo;s eastern boundary.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> <b>Population: </b>7.1 million</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> <b>Religions: </b>Secular (observant) Jewish 33.0%, Traditional Jewish 29.3%, Muslim 16%, Orthodox Jewish 6.8%, Haredim Jewish (ultra-orthodox) 6.0%, Christian 2.1%, Druze 1.5%, other (evangelical Christian, Messianic Jews, Jehovah&rsquo;s Witnesses) 0.5%.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> <b>Ethnic Groups:</b> Jewish 76.4%, Muslim 16%, Arab Christians 1.7%, other Christian 0.4%, Druze 1.6%, other 3.9%.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> <b>Languages:</b> Hebrew (official) 78.2%, South Levantine Arabic 14.7%, Judeo-Moroccan Arabic 4.0%, Romanian 4.0%, Eastern Yiddish 3.5%, English (official) 1.6%, Ladino 1.6%, Polish 1.6%, Judeo-Iraqi Arabic 1.6%, Hungarian 1.1%, Arabic (official).&nbsp;There are 33 living languages in Israel.</div> <p> &nbsp;</p> <div> <b>&nbsp;</b></div>
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History
<div> A Hebrew kingdom established in 1000 BC was later split into the kingdoms of Judah and Israel. The region was subsequently invaded by Assyrians, Babylonians, Egyptians, Persians, Greeks and Romans. By 135 AD, few Jews were left in Palestine, as most had scattered to other parts of the world. Palestine became a center of Christian pilgrimage after the rule of Constantine I, the first Christian emperor of Rome in the 4th century. The Arabs took Palestine from the Byzantine Empire in 634&ndash;640. Interrupted only by Christian Crusaders, Muslims ruled Palestine until the 20th century.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> As part of the Zionist movement in the 1800s, Jews began settling in Palestine as early as 1820. During World War I, British forces defeated the Turks in Palestine and governed the area under a League of Nations mandate from 1923. The effort to establish a Jewish homeland received British approval in the Balfour Declaration of 1917. During the 1930s, Jews began to flee Europe to escape Adolf Hitler and the Nazis, and they poured into Palestine. The postwar acknowledgment of the Holocaust, which killed an estimated 6 million Jews, increased international sympathy for the cause of Zionism.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Arabs in Palestine and surrounding countries bitterly opposed a proposal to partition Palestine into Arab and Jewish sectors. The British mandate to govern Palestine ended after the Second World War, and, in 1947, the UN voted to partition Palestine. When the British officially withdrew on May 14, 1948, the Jewish National Council proclaimed the State of Israel.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> The next day, Arab forces from Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq invaded Israel, sparking the beginning of the first Arab-Israeli War. By the time a ceasefire was reached on January 7, 1949, Israel had increased its original territory by 50%, taking western Galilee, a broad corridor through central Palestine to Jerusalem, and part of modern Jerusalem.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Chaim Weizmann and David Ben-Gurion became Israel&rsquo;s first president and prime minister. The new government was admitted to the United Nations on May 11, 1949.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> The next clash with Arab neighbors came when Egypt nationalized the Suez Canal in 1956 and barred Israeli shipping. Coordinating with an Anglo-French force, Israeli troops seized the Gaza Strip and drove through the Sinai to the east bank of the Suez Canal, but withdrew under US and UN pressure.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> In the Six-Day War of 1967, Israel made pre-emptive attacks on its Arab neighbors, who were preparing to attack Israel. Simultaneous air attacks against Syrian, Jordanian, and Egyptian air bases effectively defeated the Arabs. Expanding its territory by 200%, Israel then held the Golan Heights, the West Bank of the Jordan River, Jerusalem&rsquo;s Old City, and all of the Sinai and the east bank of the Suez Canal.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> In the face of Israeli reluctance even to discuss the return of occupied territories, the fourth Arab-Israeli War erupted on October 6, 1973, with a surprise Egyptian and Syrian assault on the Jewish high holy day of Yom Kippur. Initial Arab gains were reversed when a cease-fire took effect two weeks later, but Israel suffered the deaths of 2,688 soldiers, with another 7,250 wounded..</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> A dramatic breakthrough in Arab-Israeli relations occurred on November 9, 1977, when Egypt&rsquo;s President Anwar Sadat declared his willingness to talk about reconciliation. Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin extended an invitation to the Egyptian leader to address Israel&rsquo;s legislature, the Knesset, in Jerusalem. Sadat&rsquo;s arrival in Israel four days later raised worldwide hopes, but an agreement between Egypt and Israel was not reached until the Camp David Accords in September 1978. The Knesset approved a final peace treaty in 1979, and 12 days later, on March 26, Begin and Sadat signed the document, together with President Jimmy Carter, in a White House ceremony. Israel then began its withdrawal from the Sinai.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Although Israel withdrew its last settlers from the Sinai in April 1982, the fragile Middle East peace was shattered on June 9, 1982, by a massive Israeli assault on southern Lebanon, which the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) had used as a staging ground for attacks on Israel. Israel destroyed PLO strongholds in Tyre and Sidon and reached the suburbs of Beirut. During Israel&rsquo;s occupation, allowed Lebanese Christian Phalangist militia to enter Sabra and Shatila refugee camps and stood by while the Phalangist massacred hundreds of refugees.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> A US-mediated accord between Lebanon and Israel, signed on May 17, 1983, provided for Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon. Israel eventually withdrew its troops from the Beirut area, but kept them in southern Lebanon, where occasional skirmishes continued until Israel withdrew the last of its forces in 2000.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> After decades of living under Israeli rule, Palestinians living on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip began rioting in 1987 in what became known as the intifada. Violence heightened as Israeli police cracked down and Palestinians retaliated. In 1988, the leader of the PLO, Yasir Arafat, reversed course and acknowledged Israel&rsquo;s right to exist&mdash;an important first step that eventually led to a breakthrough in Palestinian-Israeli relations the following decade.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> In 1991, Israel was struck by Iraqi missiles during the Persian Gulf War. The Israelis did not retaliate in order to preserve the international coalition against Iraq, which included key Arab states such as Saudi Arabia.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> In 1992, Yitzhak Rabin became prime minister and later halted the disputed Israeli settlement of the occupied territories. Rabin agreed to highly secretive talks in Norway with Palestinian representatives that resulted in the landmark <a href="http://www.historycentral.com/Israel/Documents/Oslo.html"><font color="#0000ff">Oslo Accords</font></a> between the PLO and the Israeli government in September 1993. The accord stipulated a five-year plan in which Palestinians of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip would gradually become self-governing. Arafat later became president of the new Palestinian Authority. In 1994, Israel signed a peace treaty with Jordan.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> On November 4, 1995, Rabin was assassinated by a Jewish extremist, jeopardizing the tenuous peace with Palestinians. Shimon Peres succeeded Rabin, but only until May 1996, when new elections brought conservative Benjamin Netanyahu to power as prime minister. Netanyahu stymied much of the Oslo Accords, contending that it offered too many concessions too fast and jeopardized Israelis&rsquo; safety.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Terrorism erupted again in 1997 when radical Hamas suicide bombers claimed the lives of more than 20 Israeli civilians. Netanyahu, accusing Arafat of lax security, retaliated with sanctions against Palestinians working in Israel, including the withholding of millions of dollars in tax revenue, a violation of the Oslo Accords. Netanyahu also persisted in authorizing Israelis to build new settlements in mostly Arab East Jerusalem. Arafat, meanwhile, seemed unwilling or unable to curb the violence of extremist Arabs.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> An October 1998 summit resulted in new agreements between the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority. The peace agreement, however, began unraveling almost immediately due to more violence in the region between Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) and Hezbollah guerrillas in Lebanon.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Labor Party leader Ehud Barak won the 1999 election and announced that he planned not only to pursue peace with the Palestinians, but to establish relations with Syria and reach a peace accord. But the talks broke down when Syria demanded the return of all of the Golan Heights. New Hezbollah attacks on Israeli troops in southern Lebanon led to Israel&rsquo;s retaliatory bombing, as well as Barak&rsquo;s decision to pull out of Lebanon on May 24, 2000, after 18 consecutive years of occupation.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> On September 28, 2000, Likud Party leader Ariel Sharon visited the compound called Temple Mount by Jews and Haram al-Sharif by Muslims, a fiercely contested site that is sacred to both faiths. The visit set off the worst violence in years, killing around 400 people, mostly Palestinians. The violence (dubbed the al-Aqsa intifada) and the stalled peace process fueled growing concerns about Israeli security, paving the way for hard-liner Sharon&rsquo;s stunning landslide victory over Barak on February 6, 2001. Violence on both sides continued at an alarming rate. Palestinians carried out some of the most horrific suicide bombings and terrorist attacks in years, killing Israeli civilians at caf&eacute;s, bus stops, and supermarkets. In retaliation, Israel unleashed bombing raids on Palestinian territory and sent troops and tanks to occupy West Bank and Gaza cities.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Despite promising developments in spring 2003, violence continued and in September the first Palestinian Prime Minister, Mahmoud Abbas, resigned after failing to restore law and order and reform Palestinian institutions. In response to the deadlock, Prime Minister Sharon put forward his Gaza disengagement initiative, proposing the withdrawal of Israeli settlements from Gaza, as well as from parts of the northern West Bank. On August 15, 2005, Israel began implementing its disengagement from the Gaza Strip, and the Israeli Defense Forces completed their withdrawal, including the dismantling of 17 settlements.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> The United States brokered an agreement on movement and access between Israel and Palestinian territory in November 2005 to facilitate progress on Palestinian economic issues. But then Hamas won a majority in the January 2006 Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) elections, with Hamas leader Ismail Haniya becoming prime minister. The Israeli leadership pledged not to work with a Palestinian government in which Hamas had a role.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> In July 2006 Israel carried out air and ground assaults against Lebanon to go after Hezbollah. The attacks were widely criticized around the world. Unlike earlier offensives, this time Israeli forces failed to achieve their objectives and subsequently withdrew by the end of the month.</div> <div> <b>&nbsp;</b></div> <div> Despite several negotiated cease-fires between Hamas and Fatah, violent clashes in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank occurred between December 2006 and February 2007 and resulted in dozens of deaths and injuries. In an attempt to end the intra-Palestinian violence, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia invited Palestinian rivals to Mecca, and on February 9, 2007, Abbas and Hamas leader Haniya agreed to the formation of a Palestinian national unity government and a cessation of violence.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> But in June 2007, Hamas launched rocket attacks into southern Israel. On June 14, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas declared a state of emergency, dissolved the national unity government, and replaced it with a new government with Salam Fayyad as prime minister. Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak then returned to politics, having been elected head of the Labor Party. He defeated Parliament member Ami Ayalon.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Israeli jets fired on targets deep inside Syria in September 2007 in an effort to destroy a partially built nuclear reactor.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> On January 30 2008, the Winograd Commission released its <a href="http://online.wsj.com/public/resources/documents/winogradreport-04302007.pdf"><font color="#0000ff">final report</font></a> (PDF) on Israel&rsquo;s 2006 war against Hezbollah in Lebanon. It called the operation a &ldquo;large and serious&rdquo; failure and criticized the country&rsquo;s leadership for failing to have an exit strategy in place before the invasion began.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Prime Minister Ehud Olmert faced legal difficulties beginning in May 2008, when he faced accusations that he accepted hundreds of thousands dollars in bribes from a New York businessman. Olmert said the funds were campaign contributions. Olmert resigned in September, leaving Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni as head of Olmert&rsquo;s party, Kadima.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> <a href="http://lcweb2.loc.gov/frd/cs/iltoc.html"><font color="#0000ff">Library of Congress Country Study</font></a></div> <div> <a href="http://www.eretzyisroel.org/%7Ejkatz/"><font color="#0000ff">History of Israel, from 1850-present</font></a> (eretztisroel.org)</div> <div> <a href="http://www.sixdaywar.org/"><font color="#0000ff">Six-Day War</font></a> (Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America)</div> <div> <a href="http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/History/73_War.html"><font color="#0000ff">The Yom Kippur War</font></a> (by Mitchell Bard, Jewish Virtual Library)</div> <div> <a href="http://www.jimmycarterlibrary.org/documents/campdavid/"><font color="#0000ff">Camp David Accords</font></a> (Jimmy Carter Presidential Library)</div> <p> &nbsp;</p>
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Israel's Newspapers
<div> <a href="http://www.onlinenewspapers.com/israel.htm"><font color="#0000ff">Israel&rsquo;s Newspapers</font></a></div>
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History of U.S. Relations with Israel
<div> The United States officially recognized the state of Israel on May 14, 1948, when the Jewish National Council proclaimed Israel&rsquo;s sovereignty. Since then the US has remained a strong ally of Israel&rsquo;s, providing significant amounts of military and economic aid.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Large-scale American military and economic assistance began during the October 1973 War, with a massive American airlift of vital military material to Israel at the height of the war. From 1948 through 1985, the US provided Israel with $10 billion in economic assistance and $21 billion in military assistance.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> The United States-Israeli relationship has not been free of friction, such as the Liberty and Pollard incidents. The USS <i>Liberty</i>, an American intelligence-gathering ship, was steaming off the coast of Israel during the Six Day War when Israeli jets attacked the ship, mistaking it for an Egyptian vessel. Thirty-four US personnel were killed in the attack, and another 171 were wounded. In the late 1980s, the United States expressed indignation with Israel over an espionage operation involving <a href="http://www.trutv.com/library/crime/terrorists_spies/spies/pollard/1.html"><font color="#0000ff">Jonathan Jay Pollard</font></a>, an American naval employee who was sentenced to life imprisonment in 1987 for selling hundreds of vital intelligence documents to Israel. During the spying, Israeli government and diplomatic personnel in Washington served as Pollard&rsquo;s contacts.&nbsp;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Washington has tried to balance its ties to Jerusalem with its overall Middle Eastern interests and the need to negotiate an end to the Arab-Israeli conflict. In June 1970, the Rogers Plan, named after Secretary of State William P. Rogers, succeeded in ending the war of attrition between Israel and Egypt that followed the June 1967 war and established a cease-fire along the Suez Canal. In 1971 Assistant Secretary of State Joseph P. Sisco proposed an &ldquo;interim Suez Canal agreement&rdquo; to bring about a limited Israeli withdrawal from the canal, hoping that such an action would lead to a peace settlement. The proposal failed when neither Israel nor Egypt would agree to the other&rsquo;s conditions.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> In October 1973, at the height of the Arab-Israeli war, American-Soviet negotiations paved the way for UN Security Council Resolution 338. In addition to calling for an immediate cease-fire and opening negotiations aimed at implementing Resolution 242, this resolution inserted a requirement that future talk be conducted between the Arabs and Israelis.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> In September 1975, Secretary of State Henry Kissinger&rsquo;s &ldquo;shuttle diplomacy&rdquo; achieved the Second Sinai Disengagement Agreement between Israel and Egypt, laying the groundwork for later negotiations between the two nations. Another major American initiative came in 1977 when President Jimmy Carter stressed the need to solve the Arab-Israeli conflict by convening an international peace conference in Geneva. Negotiations ultimately led to the signing to the Camp David Accords. The accords included provisions that called for granting autonomy to Palestinians in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip through a freely elected self-governing authority during a five-year transitional period.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Following Israel&rsquo;s invasion of Lebanon in June 1982, President Ronald Reagan outlined what came to be called the Reagan Plan. This plan upheld the goals of the Camp David Accords regarding autonomy for the Palestinians of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip and disapproved of Israel&rsquo;s establishment of any new settlements in these areas.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> During the Reagan administration, the US-Israeli relationship was significantly upgraded. In November 1983, the two countries established a Joint Political-Military Group to coordinate military exercises and security planning as well as to position American military equipment in Israel for use by American forces in the event of a crisis. In 1985 Israel and the United States concluded the <a href="http://tcc.export.gov/Trade_Agreements/All_Trade_Agreements/exp_005439.asp"><font color="#0000ff">United States-Israel Free Trade Area Agreement</font></a> to provide tariff-free access to American and Israeli goods. Also in 1985 the two countries established a Joint Economic Development Group to help Israel solve its economic problems; in 1986 they created a Joint Security Assistance Group to discuss aid issues. Also in 1986, Israel began participating in research and development programs relating to the US Strategic Defense Initiative (aka &ldquo;Star Wars&rdquo;).</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> In January 1987, the United States designated Israel a major non-NATO ally, with status similar to that of Australia and Japan. Two months later, Israel agreed to the construction of a Voice of America relay transmitter on its soil to broadcast programs to the Soviet Union. In December 1987, Israel signed a memorandum of understanding allowing it to bid on United States defense contracts on the same basis as NATO countries. Finally, the two countries signed a memorandum of agreement in April 1988 formalizing existing arrangements for mutually beneficial United States-Israel technology transfers.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Israel has also cooperated with the United States on a number of clandestine operations. It acted as a secret channel for US arms sales to Iran in 1985 and 1986 and during the same period it cooperated with the Reagan administration in Central America (as part of the Iran-Contra scandal).</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> In October 1991, the US helped arrange the Madrid Conference, in which Israeli, Lebanese, Jordanian, Syrian, and Palestinian leaders laid the foundations for ongoing negotiations designed to bring peace and economic development to the region. Within this framework, Israel and the PLO signed a <a href="http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Peace/dop.html"><font color="#0000ff">Declaration of Principles</font></a> on September 13, 1993, which established an ambitious set of objectives relating to a transfer of authority from Israel to an interim Palestinian authority. Israel and the PLO subsequently signed the <a href="http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/Peace%20Process/Guide%20to%20the%20Peace%20Process/Main%20Points%20of%20Gaza-Jericho%20Agremeent"><font color="#0000ff">Gaza-Jericho Agreement</font></a> and the <a href="http://www.state.gov/p/nea/rls/22677.htm"><font color="#0000ff">Agreement on Preparatory Transfer of Powers and Responsibilities</font></a> which began the process of transferring authority from Israel to the Palestinians. On October 26, 1994, Israel and Jordan signed a historic <a href="http://www.kinghussein.gov.jo/peacetreaty.html"><font color="#0000ff">peace treaty</font></a>, witnessed by President Bill Clinton.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> President Clinton attended the funeral of assassinated Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in Jerusalem on November 6, 1995. Following a March 14, 1996 visit to Israel, President Clinton offered $100 million in aid for Israel&rsquo;s anti-terror activities, another $200 million for the Arrow anti-missile deployment, and about $50 million for an anti-missile laser weapon. Clinton disagreed with Prime Minister Netanyahu&rsquo;s policy of expanding Jewish settlements in the occupied territories. Clinton hosted negotiations at the Wye River Conference Center in Maryland, ending with the signing of an <a href="http://www.state.gov/www/regions/nea/981023_interim_agmt.html"><font color="#0000ff">agreement</font></a> on October 23, 1998. Israel suspended implementation of the Wye agreement in early December 1998 because Prime Minister Netanyahu said the Palestinians violated the Wye Agreement by threatening to declare a state (Palestinian statehood was not mentioned in Wye).</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Ehud Barak was elected prime minister in 1999. President Clinton and Prime Minister Barak appeared to establish close personal relations during four days of meetings between July 15 and 20 in what many observers believed was a clear reversal of the less than friendly relations between Clinton and Netanyahu. Clinton mediated meetings between Prime Minister Barak and PLO Chairman Yasir Arafat at the White House, Oslo, Shepherdstown, Camp David, and Sharm al-Shaykh.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> <a href="http://lcweb2.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/r?frd/cstdy:@field%28DOCID+il0186%29"><font color="#0000ff"><span>Military Cooperation with the United States</span></font></a> (Library of Congress)</div> <div> <a href="http://www.jonathanpollard.org/"><font color="#0000ff">Jonathan Pollard Official Website</font></a></div>
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Current U.S. Relations with Israel
<div> Commitment to Israel&rsquo;s security has been a cornerstone of US policy in the Middle East since Israel&rsquo;s founding in 1948. Israel and the United States are bound closely by historic and cultural ties, as well as by mutual interests. On a bilateral level, relations between the United States and Israel include the Joint Political-Military Group, the <a href="http://www.bsf.org.il/Public/homepage/homePage.asp"><font color="#0000ff">Binational Science Foundation</font></a> and the <a href="http://www.bard-isus.com/"><font color="#0000ff">Binational Agricultural Research and Development Foundation</font></a>; the <a href="http://www.fulbright.org.il/en"><font color="#0000ff">US-Israeli Education Foundation</font></a>, which sponsors educational and cultural programs; the Joint Economic Development Group, which maintains a high-level dialogue on economic issues; the Joint Counterterrorism Group, designed to enhance cooperation in fighting terrorism; and a high-level Strategic Dialogue that meets biannually.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> President George W. Bush and Prime Minister Ariel Sharon established good relations in their March and June 2001 meetings. But on October 4, 2001, Sharon accused the Bush Administration of appeasing the Palestinians at Israel&rsquo;s expense in a bid for Arab support for the US anti-terror campaign. The White House said the remark was unacceptable. Rather than apologize for the remark, Sharon said the United States failed to understand him. Also, the United States criticized the Israeli practice of killing Palestinians believed to be engaged in terrorism, which appeared to some Israelis to be inconsistent with the US policy of pursuing international terrorist Osama bin Ladin &ldquo;dead or alive.&rdquo;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> At their seventh White House meeting on October 16, 2002, the two leaders discussed the possible US invasion of Iraq and Israel&rsquo;s restrictions on the Palestinians, according to press accounts. At their April 14, 2004, White House meeting, President Bush agreed with Prime Minister Sharon&rsquo;s plan for a unilateral withdrawal from Gaza and some West Bank areas, Israel&rsquo;s retaining settlements in the West Bank, Israel&rsquo;s position that the Palestinian refugees did not have the &ldquo;right of return,&rdquo; and Israel&rsquo;s construction of a wall between Palestinian areas and Israeli areas.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> While recent US administrations have disapproved of Israel&rsquo;s settlement activity, President Bush noted the need to take into account the realities of major Israeli population centers, asserting it is unrealistic to expect Israel to rollback its borders to those before the first Arab-Israeli war in the late 1948.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> During times of violence, US officials have urged Israel to withdraw as rapidly as possible from Palestinian areas retaken in security operations. The Bush administration has insisted that UN Security Council resolutions be balanced by criticizing Palestinian as well as Israeli violence and has vetoed resolutions which do not meet that standard.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> A total of 106,839 people identified themselves as being of Israeli ancestry in the 2000 US census. This figure drastically underestimates the number of Israelis living in the US because many Israelis emigrated from countries other than Israel or had their nation of birth listed on immigration documents. At least 800,000 Israelis came to the US between 1950 and 1980, with the largest wave arriving after the 1973 Yom Kippur War.&nbsp;New York and Los Angeles host more than half the nation&rsquo;s Jewish Israeli population, while Israeli Arabs have congregated in Midwestern cities like Chicago and Detroit.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> In 2006 493,971 Americans visited Israel. More Americans have visited Israel every year since 2002, when 206,060 Americans journeyed to Israel. That same year 283,889 Israelis visited the US The number of tourists has fluctuated between a low of 249,034 (2003) and a high of 284,310 (2005) between 2002 and 2006.&nbsp;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> <a href="http://www.policyalmanac.org/world/archive/crs_israeli-us_relations.shtml"><font color="#0000ff">Israeli-United States Relations</font></a> (Almanac of Policy Issues)</div> <div> <a href="http://www.fas.org/man/crs/IB82008.pdf"><font color="#0000ff">Israeli-United States Relations</font></a> (by Clyde R. Mark, Congressional Research Service)</div> <div> <a href="http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/ustoc.html"><font color="#0000ff">US-Israel Relations</font></a> (Jewish Virtual Library)</div>
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Where Does the Money Flow
<div> The United States is Israel&rsquo;s most important trading partner, buying almost 40% of Israel&rsquo;s total export shipments (the second biggest buyer of Israeli goods is Belgium at 6.5%). Israel&rsquo;s imports are less concentrated; however the US is still the biggest seller, at 12.4%.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> While trade between the United States and Israel involves dozens of million-dollar commodities, bilateral trade is dominated by gem diamonds. From 2003 to 2007, the US bought an average of $8 billion in uncut and unset diamonds, by far the largest import. American jewelry merchants then turned around and sold more than $3 billion each year back to Israel, making it the most profitable American export to Israel.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Other top imports from Israel to the US in 2007 were dental, medical and pharmaceutical preparations ($2.7 billion), telecommunications equipment ($746.8 million), complete civilian aircraft ($685.9 million), other hospital, medical and scientific equipment&nbsp;($655 million), electric apparatus and parts ($385.6 million), civilian aircraft engines ($370.5 million), measuring, testing and control instruments ($337.1 million), other military equipment ($271.3 million) and computer accessories, peripherals and parts ($254.6 million).</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Other military equipment also represented the fast growing Israeli export to the US from 2006 to 2007 (up 223.2%). Other fast risers were business machinery and equipment excluding computers (up 128.2%), sulfur and non-metallic minerals (up 117.5%), household and kitchen appliances (up 104.8%) and nickel (up 70.4%).</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> The fastest growing US exports to Israel were complete civilian aircraft (up 971.1%), barley, oats and sorghum (up 736%), manufactured wood supplies (up 264.2%), dairy products and eggs (up 184.3%) and buses, trucks and special purpose vehicles (up 135.2%).</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> The US gave $2.46 billion in aid to Israel in 2007.&nbsp;This was divided amongst Foreign Military Financing ($2.34 billion), Trade and Investment ($120 million) and Counter-Terrorism ($240,000). The 2008 budget estimate decreased aid slightly, to $2.38 billion. The 2009 budget will return aid to higher levels, with $2.55 billion in funding.&nbsp;For both 2008 and 2009, all funds are dedicated to Foreign Military Financing.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Additionally, the US funds the Multinational Force and Observers (<a href="http://www.mfo.org/2/homepage.asp"><font color="#0000ff">MFO</font></a>), which monitors the peace agreement between Egypt and Israel. The U.S spent $21 million on the MFO in 2007, $24.8 million in 2008, and will spend $21.8 million in 2009. (<a href="http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/101368.pdf"><font color="#0000ff">pages 582-583 of the Foreign Operations Budget</font></a>).</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> The US sold $802 million in defense articles and services to Israel in 2007. Billions of dollars in military hardware has been sold to Israel over the past four decades. From the most sophisticated warplanes to tank engines, artillery systems and armored vehicles, the United States is Israel&rsquo;s &ldquo;one-stop shopping center,&rdquo; buying F-16s fighter planes, Apache attack helicopters, Cobra attack helicopters, Black Hawk transport helicopters, Popeye air-to-surface missiles (made by Lockheed Martin), and Maverick air-to-surface missiles (produced by Hughes and Raytheon).</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> The US also funds a few programs encouraging positive Arab-Israeli relations, namely the Middle East Regional Cooperation Program (<a href="http://www.usaid.gov/locations/asia_near_east/merc06.html"><font color="#0000ff">MERC</font></a>) and the Middle East Multilaterals Program (MEM).&nbsp;These programs received $6 million in 2007, $5 million in 2008, and will receive $3 million in 2009.&nbsp;(<a href="http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/101368.pdf"><font color="#0000ff">pages 580-581 of the Foreign Operations Budget</font></a>)</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> <a href="http://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/statistics/product/enduse/imports/c5081.html"><font color="#0000ff">Imports from Israel</font></a></div> <div> <a href="http://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/statistics/product/enduse/exports/c5081.html"><font color="#0000ff">Exports to Israel</font></a></div> <div> <a href="http://www.state.gov/t/pm/64711.htm"><font color="#0000ff">Israel: Security Assistance </font></a></div> <div> <a href="http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/101368.pdf"><font color="#0000ff">Congressional Budget for Foreign Operations (pages 546-547)</font></a> (PDF)</div> <div> <a href="http://import-export.suite101.com/article.cfm/top_israeli_imports_exports"><font color="#0000ff">Top Israeli Imports &amp; Exports</font></a> (Suite101.com)</div> <div> <a href="http://www.commondreams.org/views02/0509-07.htm"><font color="#0000ff">US Arms Sales to Israel End Up In China, Iraq</font></a> (by Jonathan Reingold, Common Dreams.org)</div>
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Controversies
<div> <b>Israel Tries to Block US Arms Sales to Saudi Arabia</b></div> <div> A major arms-sale package that the Bush administration planned in 2007 to offer Saudi Arabia and other Persian Gulf allies was delayed because of objections from Israel, which argued that the advanced weaponry would erode its military advantage over its regional rivals. Israeli officials traveled to Washington to lobby against elements of the planned sales. In particular, the Israelis were concerned about the possible transfer of precision-guided weapons that would give Saudi warplanes much more accurate ability to strike targets. The United States has made few, if any, sales of satellite-guided ordnance to Gulf countries, while Israel has been supplied with such weapons since the 1990s and used them extensively in its war against Hezbollah in 2006. The American officials did not provide a dollar figure for the planned sales. But one American defense industry executive said that if all the equipment under discussion with the Saudis and other Gulf countries was eventually sold&mdash;including tanks, warships and advanced air defense systems&mdash;the deal would run from $5 billion to $10 billion. In January 2008 President Bush went ahead and pledged a $20 billion weapons package that would include 900 precision-guided &ldquo;smart&rdquo; bombs.</div> <div> <a href="http://www.military.com/NewsContent/0,13319,159984,00.html"><font color="#0000ff">Bush Delivers Arms Sale to Saudi Arabia</font></a> (by Matthew Lee and Anne Flaherty, Associated Press)</div> <div> <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/05/world/middleeast/05weapons.html"><font color="#0000ff">Israel&rsquo;s Protests Are Said to Stall Gulf Arms Sale </font></a>(by David S. Cloud and Helene Cooper, New York Times)</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> <b>Jewish Lobby Article and Book Create Storm of Controversy </b></div> <div> Two US academics, John Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago and Stephen Walt of Harvard, published a book in 2007 that set out to analyze the power of the so-called &ldquo;Jewish Lobby&rdquo; in Washington that has reportedly contributed to staunch American support for Israel over the decades. The book, <i><a href="http://www.amazon.com/Israel-Lobby-U-S-Foreign-Policy/dp/0374531501/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&amp;s=books&amp;qid=1226578447&amp;sr=1-1"><font color="#0000ff">The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy</font></a></i>, followed a 2006 <a href="http://www.lrb.co.uk/v28/n06/mear01_.html"><font color="#0000ff">article</font></a> the two had written in the London Review of Books.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> According to Mearsheimer and Walt, the US gets remarkably little in return for its help to Israel.</div> <div> They rejected the argument that Israel was a key ally in America&rsquo;s &ldquo;war on terror.&rdquo; On the contrary, they contended US patronage of Israel fuels militant anger and fosters resentment in Arab countries that control vital oil supplies. They said the real reason behind US support for Israel is domestic&mdash;the activities of the right-wing American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), and like-minded groups and think tanks.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> The book analyzed the lobby&rsquo;s sources of influence, notably its financial muscle and the reluctance of critics to speak out. Pro-Israeli contributions to US campaigns dwarf those of Arab-Americans or Muslim groups.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Numerous critics lashed out at the authors. &ldquo;Their conclusions are classic anti-Semitic canards&mdash;such as control of foreign policy against the interest of the US, the Jews controlling the media and getting America into war,&rdquo; ADL director Abraham Foxman told the BBC News.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> In a fierce critique of the book, Israeli historian Benny Morris wrote in the New Republic: &ldquo;Were &lsquo;<i>The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy</i>&rsquo; an actual person, I would have to say that he did not have a single honest bone in his body.&rdquo;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Virtually all reviews of the book in the mainstream US press were negative. &ldquo;They have often misrepresented our arguments badly or tried to smear us by either saying or hinting that we are anti-Semitic,&rdquo; Walt told the BBC News.</div> <div> <a href="http://www.scribemedia.org/2006/10/11/israel-lobby/"><font color="#0000ff">The Israel Lobby: Does it Have Too Much Influence on US Foreign Policy?&mdash;A Debate</font></a> (scribemedia.org)</div> <div> <a href="http://www.lrb.co.uk/v28/n06/mear01_.html"><font color="#0000ff">The Israel Lobby</font></a> (by John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt. London Review of Books)</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> <b>US Imposes Sanctions on Israel Over Arms Sales to China</b></div> <div> The United States imposed sanctions on Israel in 2005 after a dispute over Israel&rsquo;s sale of unmanned aerial vehicles to China. The US suspended co-operation on several development projects and froze delivery of night-vision equipment. The sanctions were approved by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. The US believed that Israeli officials lied to them about the export of Harpy Killer drones to China. The officials claimed that Israel was merely refurbishing old drones which had been exported with American consent. The US argued that the drones had been upgraded using new technology which it had shared with Israel. The US feared that China might use the military equipment to help settle longstanding territorial and political disputes by the threat and use of force. China has repeatedly threatened Taiwan with attack if it declares independence, and South Korea and Japan are concerned about China translating its size into military power.</div> <div> <a href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2005/jun/13/usa.israel"><font color="#0000ff">US acts over Israeli arms sales to China</font></a> (by Conal Urquhart, The Guardian)</div>
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Human Rights
<p> According to the State Department&rsquo;s latest report, human rights problems in Israel have been concentrated around inequalities between Jewish-Israelis and their Arab counterparts, residents of the Occupied Territories faring much worse than Israeli citizens.&nbsp;The escalated conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza highlighted these inequalities and abuses.&nbsp;</p> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> The report summarized that, &ldquo;the government generally respected the human rights of its citizens, although there were problems in some areas. There were several high-profile cases involving corruption by political leaders. Institutional, legal, and societal discrimination against Arabs, non-Orthodox Jews, and other religious groups continued, as did societal discrimination against persons with disabilities. Women suffered societal discrimination and domestic violence. The government maintained unequal educational systems for Arab and Jewish students. Trafficking in and abuse of women and foreign workers remained a problem, as did societal discrimination against persons with disabilities.&rdquo;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Numerous prominent political figures were under investigation and prosecuted throughout the year for misconduct.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> &ldquo;On April 1, Member of Knesset (MK) Shlomo Benizri was convicted of bribery, fraud, and breach of trust for crimes committed between 1996 and 2001 when he was minister of health and minister of social affairs. Benizri was sentenced to 18 months&#39; imprisonment and an 80,000 NIS ($23,000) fine.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> &ldquo;On June 4, prosecutors indicted former finance minister Avraham Hirchson, who resigned from the cabinet in July 2007, on charges of bribery and aggravated fraud, money laundering, breach of trust, and falsifying corporate documents. The case continued at year&#39;s end.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> &ldquo;During the year the state comptroller and attorney general investigated Prime Minister Olmert for a range of alleged crimes, including fraud, bribery, breach of trust, money laundering, and tax offenses. Six separate criminal investigations were under way throughout the year, one of which was closed for lack of evidence on December 4. No charges had been filed by year&#39;s end. The public reaction to the allegations forced Prime Minister Olmert to announce his resignation on September 20.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> &ldquo;Criminal investigations or trials of other officials, including Finance Minister Ronnie Bar-On, MK Tzachi Hanegbi, MK Ruhama Avraham, MK Yaakov Edri, MK Yitzhak Ziv, and numerous senior law enforcement and civil service officials continued throughout the year.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> &ldquo;On February 27, former MK Omri Sharon began serving a seven- month prison sentence following a 2005 conviction on corruption and fraud charges for crimes committed during the 1999 Likud party primary campaign of his father, former prime minister Ariel Sharon. Omri Sharon was released after five months for good behavior.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> &ldquo;On April 8, former president Moshe Katsav withdrew from a plea bargain he had agreed to in 2007. Women&#39;s rights activists and government transparency NGOs had opposed the plea bargain, which carried convictions for indecent acts and sexual harassment but dropped two rape charges against him and imposed a suspended prison sentence. At year&#39;s end no charges had been refiled.&rdquo;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Women continue to suffer from incidences of domestic violence with nearly 13,612 complaints filed by September. The State Department report notes that, &ldquo;the Mahut Feminist Center in Haifa reported that more than 65 percent of employees in part-time jobs were women, more than 35 percent of working women earned minimum wage or less (compared to 14.2 percent of working men), and women made up 70 percent of employees working in contractor companies that provided lower wages, lack of employment stability, and no social benefits.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> &ldquo;The Commission for Equal Rights of People with Disabilities (CERPD) within the Justice Ministry took legal action in the areas of accessibility and employment. In a 2007 study, the CERPD found that 85 percent of employers do not employ any persons with disabilities, and 25 percent of employees stated they had no interest in employing such a person in the future.&rdquo;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> The Israeli education system has long suffered criticism that Jewish children receive much more academic resources than their Arab counterparts. &ldquo;The State Comptroller&#39;s February 10 report on local governments noted that in the 28 Arab communities surveyed, there was a combined shortage of 1,082 classrooms in local schools. In June a joint committee of the Education Ministry and the Higher Arab Monitoring Committee reported the Arab sector would need an additional 9,236 classrooms by 2012 to keep pace with national standards.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> &ldquo;Arab Israelis were underrepresented in most fields of employment, including government, despite a five-year-old affirmative action program to promote hiring Arab Israelis (including Druze and Bedouin) in the civil service. According to the government, 6.2 percent of government employees in 2007 were Arab.&rdquo;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Prison conditions were generally regarded as meeting international standards; however, overcrowding remains a major problem.&nbsp;The State Department report focused on the Public Defender&rsquo;s Office 2007 report detailing prison conditions in Israeli. &ldquo;The report revealed that in one-third of prisons visited, inmates and detainees complained that guards regularly treated them with violence, threats, and humiliation. The report applauded the IPS for creating a special team to deal with shortcomings in the previous year&#39;s report but noted that almost nothing had been accomplished to improve conditions.&nbsp;Human rights groups allege that the Ministry of Justice failed to adequately investigate complaints filed against police officers by Arab Israelis and Palestinians.&rdquo;&nbsp;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Israeli law affords religious freedom and allows &ldquo;recognized communities&rdquo; to implement their own laws with regard to personal matters.&nbsp;However, Jewish communities receive a greater amount of funding for religious services and institutions.&nbsp;&ldquo;According to government figures, the Jewish population received approximately 1.6 billion NIS ($457 million). Religious minorities, which comprised slightly more than 20% of the population, received approximately 65 million NIS ($18.6 million), or just less than 4% of total funding.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> &ldquo;There were also reports of societal abuses or discrimination based on religious belief or practice.&nbsp;The legal defense NGO Jerusalem Institute of Justice (JIJ) also alleged that MOI officials denied services to certain citizens based on their religious beliefs, most of which included the revoking of citizenship or failure to process immigration applications. During the year there were numerous reports of foreign nationals with Arab or Muslim names subjected to harsh and degrading treatment at border crossings.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> &ldquo;An August 4 Physicians for Human Rights-Israel report accused the ISA of preventing Palestinians from leaving Gaza to seek medical treatment in Israel or abroad unless they agreed to become informers for Israeli intelligence. According to testimony collected in the report, the ISA used blackmail and coercion to elicit cooperation from gravely ill patients, some of whom required urgent treatment for life-threatening illnesses. The ISA denied the allegation.&rdquo;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Human Rights Watch maintained that, &ldquo;Israel&#39;s blockade of Gaza and restrictions on movement to protect illegal West Bank settlements, along with indiscriminate Palestinian rocket attacks on Israeli towns and serious abuses by Fatah and Hamas against each other&#39;s supporters, were major components of the human rights crisis in the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories in 2008.&rdquo;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> The State Department concluded that, &ldquo;there were reports of Palestinian Authority torture, arbitrary and prolonged detention, poor prison conditions, insufficient measures to prevent attacks by terrorist groups, impunity, corruption, and lack of transparency. Domestic abuse of women, societal discrimination against women and persons with disabilities, and child labor remained serious problems. In Gaza there were reports that Hamas security forces continued to kill, torture, kidnap, arrest, and harass Fatah members and other Palestinians with impunity. Hamas and other Palestinian factions in Gaza shelled civilian targets in Israel.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> &ldquo;Both Israeli and Palestinian nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) reported that Israeli authorities used excessive force, abused civilians and detainees, tortured Palestinian detainees, failed to take proper disciplinary actions, improperly applied security internment procedures, maintained austere and overcrowded detention facilities, imposed severe restrictions on internal and external freedom of movement, and limited cooperation with NGOs. A partially completed Israeli-built separation barrier isolated portions of the West Bank and restricted Palestinian movement and access to West Bank land west of the barrier.&rdquo;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Human Rights Watch noted that, &ldquo;Palestinian civilians accounted for around half of those killed in Israeli military operations in Gaza prior to a June ceasefire between Hamas and Israel. More Palestinians were killed in Gaza by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) in the first half of the year than in all of 2007 in both the West Bank and Gaza.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> &ldquo;Between January and June 2008, Israeli forces conducting military operations killed 388 Palestinian fighters and civilians in Gaza, about half of whom were civilians; 59 of the dead were children. Israeli forces killed 41 Palestinians in the West Bank between January and the end of October, of whom at least 15 were civilians. The largest Israeli military operation, between February 27 and March 3 in Gaza, killed 107 Palestinians, more than half of them civilians. Human Rights Watch examined one area occupied by Israeli troops during the operation and found strong evidence in four incidents that Israeli forces deliberately fired at and killed five civilians, medical personnel, and incapacitated fighters. In other attacks, Israeli forces did not appear to take all feasible precautions to ensure targets were military and not civilian.&rdquo;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> The State Department highlighted Israeli restrictions on the press by noting that, &ldquo;the government prohibited Israeli journalists from entering the Gaza Strip, and those who did were subject to legal penalties such as fines and restraining orders. In early November the government also started preventing foreign journalists from entering the Gaza Strip. On November 24, the Foreign Press Association (FPA) in Israel filed a petition to the High Court requesting that it overturn the ban on foreign journalists entering the Gaza Strip. On December 31, the High Court ruled in favor of the FPA petition. The government had not complied at year&#39;s end.&rdquo;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> A fact-finding mission headed by Justice Richard Goldstone has been approved by the United Nations to investigate allegations of serious violations of the laws of war in Gaza and southern Israel.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> &ldquo;Human Rights Watch has reported on serious violations of the laws of war by the IDF, most recently the firing of white phosphorous munitions into densely populated areas of Gaza, as well as a protracted blockade of the Gaza Strip - a policy that amounts to the unlawful collective punishment of the civilian population.&nbsp;The IDF has declared that it used white phosphorous in Gaza in compliance with international humanitarian law, but Human Rights Watch&#39;s findings contradict this claim. On March 19, nine Israeli human rights organizations issued a statement strongly criticizing the Israeli government&#39;s failure to establish an independent and impartial investigative body to look at the conduct of IDF forces in Gaza.&rdquo;</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> <a href="http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2008/nea/119117.htm"><font color="#0000ff">US State Department</font></a></div> <div> <a href="http://www.hrw.org/en/node/79235"><font color="#0000ff">Human Rights Watch</font></a></div>
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Debate
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Past Ambassadors
<div> James Grover McDonald<br /> Appointment: Mar 18, 1949<br /> Presentation of Credentials: Mar 28, 1949<br /> Termination of Mission: Left post, Dec 13, 1950</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Monnett B. Davis<br /> Appointment: Feb 1, 1951<br /> Presentation of Credentials: Feb 26, 1951<br /> Termination of Mission: Died at post, Dec 26, 1953</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Edward B. Lawson<br /> Appointment: Apr 9, 1954<br /> Presentation of Credentials: Nov 12, 1954<br /> Termination of Mission: Left post, Feb 17, 1959</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Ogden Rogers Reid<br /> Appointment: Jun 5, 1959<br /> Presentation of Credentials: Jul 2, 1959<br /> Termination of Mission: Left Israel, Jan 19, 1961</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Walworth Barbour<br /> Appointment: May 11, 1961<br /> Presentation of Credentials: Jun 12, 1961<br /> Termination of Mission: Left post, Jan 19, 1973</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Kenneth B. Keating<br /> Appointment: Jun 22, 1973<br /> Presentation of Credentials: Aug 28, 1973<br /> Termination of Mission: Died in New York, May 5, 1975<br /> Note: Ambassador Keating had departed Tel Aviv on Mar 31, 1975 for consultations on the reassessment of American policy in the Middle East.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Malcolm Toon<br /> Appointment: Jun 9, 1975<br /> Presentation of Credentials: Jul 10, 1975<br /> Termination of Mission: Left post, Dec 27, 1976</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Samuel L. Lewis<br /> Appointment: Apr 26, 1977<br /> Presentation of Credentials: May 25, 1977<br /> Termination of Mission: May 31, 1985</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Thomas R. Pickering<br /> Appointment: Jul 12, 1985<br /> Presentation of Credentials: Aug 6, 1985<br /> Termination of Mission: Left post, Dec 28, 1988</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> William Andreas Brown<br /> Appointment: Nov 22, 1988<br /> Presentation of Credentials: Dec 29, 1988<br /> Termination of Mission: Left post, Jan 7, 1992<br /> Note: Commissioned during a recess of the Senate; nomination of May 24, 1988 was not acted upon by the Senate. Recommissioned Oct. 2, 1989 after confirmation.</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> William Caldwell Harrop<br /> Appointment: Nov 21, 1991<br /> Presentation of Credentials: Jan 21, 1992<br /> Termination of Mission: Left post, May 7, 1993</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Edward P. Djerejian<br /> Appointment: Nov 22, 1993<br /> Presentation of Credentials: Jan 13, 1994<br /> Termination of Mission: Left post, Aug 9, 1994</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Martin S. Indyk<br /> Appointment: Mar 4, 1995<br /> Presentation of Credentials: Apr 10, 1995<br /> Termination of Mission: Left post, Sep 27, 1997</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Edward S. Walker, Jr.<br /> Appointment: Nov 10, 1997<br /> Presentation of Credentials: Dec 24, 1997<br /> Termination of Mission: Left post Jan 23, 2000</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Martin S. Indyk<br /> Appointment: Nov 16, 1999<br /> Presentation of Credentials: Jan 25, 2000<br /> Termination of Mission: Left post Jul 13, 2001</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> Daniel C. Kurtzer<br /> Appointment: Jul 12, 2001<br /> Presentation of Credentials: Jul 18, 2001<br /> Termination of Mission: Left post, Jul 17, 2005</div> <div> &nbsp;</div> <div> <a href="http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ho/po/com/10887.htm"><font color="#0000ff">Former US Ambassadors to Israel</font></a></div>
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Israel's Ambassador to the U.S.
ambassador-image Shapiro, Dan

U.S. Ambassador to Israel Daniel B. Shapiro is a long-time foreign policy professional with extensive experience dealing with issues pertaining to the Middle East. As an observant and active member of the Jewish community, Shapiro’s role has been to reassure American Jews that Obama will be a friend to their interests, including those related to Israel. He was confirmed by the Senate on May 26, 2011, sworn in on July 8, and arrived in Israel on July 21.

 
Shapiro was born in 1969 in Champaign, Illinois, one of four children of novelist Elizabeth Klein Shapiro and University of Illinois English professor Michael Shapiro. He graduated from the University Laboratory High School of Urbana, Illinois, in 1986. He then took a year off, taking Hebrew language classes at the University of Illinois, and then visiting Israel for half a year. He attended Washington University, spending his sophomore year in Israel, and transferred to Brandeis University, where in 1991 he earned a B.A. in Near Eastern and Judaic Studies, with an additional concentration in Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies. In 1993, he earned an M.A. in Middle Eastern Studies, with a focus on modern Middle Eastern history, from Harvard University. He has also studied at Hebrew University in Jerusalem. 
 
From 1993 to 1995 Shapiro served as a professional staff member on the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Europe and the Middle East under Chairman Lee Hamilton. Moving to the Senate in 1995, he was a legislative assistant and senior foreign policy adviser to Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein of California until 1999. At that time, he moved to the executive branch, and for two years sat on the National Security Council under President Bill Clinton, as director of legislative affairs and as a Congressional liaison for National Security Advisor Sandy Berger. 
 
After the 2000 elections, Shapiro returned to the Senate, serving from 2001 to 2007 as legislative advisor and then deputy chief of staff (primarily on foreign policy issues) for U.S. Senator Bill Nelson of Florida. In 2007, Shapiro jumped ship to the private sector, working from 2007 until 2008 as vice president of the Washington, D.C., lobbying firm Timmons & Company, where he lobbied on behalf of the American Petroleum Institute, which represents the interests of large oil companies. He also lobbied for Freddie Mac, Anheuser-Busch, Chrysler, VISA, Dun & Bradstreet. Cox Enterprises, the American Medical Association, the American Council of Life Insurers and the University of Miami (among others).
 
Also in 2007, Shapiro began serving as an advisor to then-Senator Barack Obama on Middle East and Jewish community issues, and assisted as a strategist and fundraiser. He accompanied Obama on his July 2008 trip to Israel, which was followed in August 2008 by Obama’s appointment of him as senior policy adviser and Jewish Outreach coordinator for his 2008 presidential campaign.
 
In January 2009, Obama appointed Shapiro Senior Director for the Middle East and North Africa at the National Security Council. From that time until September 2010, when negotiations collapsed, Shapiro visited Israel at least once a month and accompanied U.S. special envoy for Middle East Peace George J. Mitchell on all his trips to the region, taking a central role in talks regarding the failed settlement building freeze and the strengthening of military cooperation between the U.S. and Israel. He has maintained close relations with Benyamin Netanyahu, in spite of the tensions between the Israeli prime minister and President Obama.
 
Shapiro is married to Julie Fisher of Duluth, Minnesota, whom he met during college when both were serving as summer camp counselors. They have three daughters, Liat, Merav, and Shira. He speaks Hebrew and some Arabic. According to the OpenSecrets website, Shapiro has contributed $17,500 to Democratic candidates and causes since 2004, including $2,300 to the Obama presidential campaign in 2008. 
 
Champaign Native Confirmed as Ambassador to Israel (by Katherine Skiba, Chicago Tribune)

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Israel's Embassy Web Site in the U.S.
<div> <a href="http://www.israelemb.org/"><font color="#0000ff">Israel&rsquo;s Embassy in the US</font></a></div>
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U.S. Ambassador to Israel

Dermer, Ron
ambassador-image

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu of Israel, whose aggressive policies toward Palestine have raised tensions with the U.S., recently named a longtime aide known for even more hawkish views to become the country’s next ambassador to the United States. Ron Dermer, an ex-American who has been a close political advisor to Netanyahu for the past four years, once called the “two-state solution”—for decades Washington’s preferred outcome to the Israeli-Palestinian impasse—“childish.” He will succeed Michael Oren, whose term is due to end in the fall but who, according to some sources, wanted to keep his job.

 

Born in 1971 in Miami Beach, Florida, Ron Dermer is the younger son of Jay Dermer, a trial attorney from New York who was elected mayor of Miami Beach in1967, and Yaffa Rosenthal, who was born in Palestine and moved to Florida with her parents soon after Israel won its independence. Growing up in Miami Beach, Dermer suffered the loss of his father to a heart attack in 1984, just two weeks before his bar mitzvah. Dermer earned a B.A. in Finance and Management at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in 1993 and a Master’s degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Oxford University in 1996.

 

Shortly thereafter, Dermer moved to Israel and began the process of becoming an Israeli citizen. In 1998, he married artist Adi Blumberg, whose father was chairman of the Bank of Jerusalem, and their wedding was presided over by the prominent rabbinical scholar Adin Steinsaltz. Adi Blumberg died in February 2000 at the age of 29. Dermer renounced his American citizenship in 2005.

 

A political consultant for conservative Israeli politicians, in the 1999 Knesset campaign Dermer worked for Natan Sharansky, for whom he had also worked three years earlier during the 1995 Knesset election campaign. Starting in January 2001, Dermer wrote a column called “The Numbers Game” for the Jerusalem Post, and in 2004 he and Sharansky co-wrote the ironically titled book The Case For Democracy: The Power of Freedom to Overcome Tyranny and Terror, even as Sharansky gave interviews claiming that Israeli Jews, but not Arab Palestinians, had a right to a democratic state in the former territory of Palestine.

 

Since 2005, Dermer has served the government of Israel continuously. From 2005 to 2008, when Netanyahu was finance minister, Dermer served as economic envoy at the Israeli embassy in Washington. In 2008, he became a close advisor to Netanyahu, who became prime minister in April 2009. Dermer left the PM’s office in March 2013, after rumors of his possible appointment as ambassador had begun to swirl, but was not officially nominated until July 9.

 

Dermer has five children. He is married to Rhoda Pagano Dermer. The family lives in Jerusalem.

-Matt Bewig

 

To Learn More:

Biography (Wikipedia)

Ron Dermer, New Israel Envoy, Not Shy To Boast of Ties With Netanyahu: Fast-Rising Right Winger Is Pugnacious Supporter of Premier (by Ron Kampeas, Jewish Daily Forward)

Possible Future Israeli Ambassador Holds Two Countries in his Heart (by Michael Fince II, Amy Sherman and Elinor J. Brecher, Miami Herald)

Ron Dermer is Israel’s Next Ambassador: Netanyahu’s hard-hitting American-born adviser gets the nod (by Yair Rosenberg, Tablet)

When Zionism is Racism: Ron Dermer and Bibi Netanyahu, on the Record (by Larry Derfner, 972 Magazine)

Bibi’s Brain (by Allison Hoffman, Baltimore Jewish Life)

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Previous U.S. Ambassador to Israel

Cunningham, James
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A native of Allentown, Pennsylvania, James B. Cunningham has served as US ambassador to Israel since August 18, 2008. Cunningham graduated magna cum laude from Syracuse University, with degrees in political science and psychology. He speaks Italian, French and Spanish.
 
After early tours in Stockholm, Washington, Rome and the US Mission to NATO, he served as chief of staff to NATO Secretary General Manfred Woerner.
 
Just after Iraq invaded Kuwait in August 1990, Cunningham became deputy political counselor at the US Mission to the UN. From 1993 to 1995, he served as director of the State Department’s Office of European Security and Political Affairs. He served as deputy chief of the US Embassy in Rome from 1996 to 1999.
 
Cunningham then served as ambassador and Deputy US Permanent Representative to the United Nations (1999-2004) and Acting Permanent Representative from January to September 2001. He was US Consul General in Hong Kong, responsible for the Hong Kong and Macau Special Administrative Regions of China before becoming ambassador to Israel.
 
Cunningham holds the rank of career minister in the Foreign Service. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Asia Society.
 
 

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