By Moshe Aarons
[..] The U.S.-Israeli relationship is based on firm foundations of common values, ideals and strategic interests that do not depend on whether the administration in Washington is Republican or Democratic. The relationship is a major part of Israel’s strategic posture and should not be impaired by Israeli politicians under any circumstances. Although some Israeli prime ministers have in the past made the unfortunate mistake of indicating their preference for one of the candidates in the American presidential elections, until now, no one until has been as blatant as Olmert when he declared that the next administration would not be as friendly to Israel as the present one. That statement is certainly not likely to advance our country’s relationship with the next administration. If at all, the contrary should have been said: We expect the relationship with the next administration, regardless of who is elected president of the United States, to be even better.
Good as relations between the two countries are, there is room for improvement. For years we have been waiting for America to move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, a matter of paramount interest to Israel. For years we have been waiting for Jonathan Pollard to be pardoned.
And certainly not least important: U.S.-Israel technological cooperation, which reached an unprecedented peak before the unfortunate Israeli decision two decades ago to cancel the Lavi fighter project, has regrettably fallen to the lowest level ever in recent years. The export of Israeli defense products now requires American approval, and the procurement in the U.S. of parts for Israeli weapons-system development has been made intolerably difficult. This situation has been deteriorating seriously in recent years, to the severe detriment of the Israeli defense industry, which is an essential element of Israel’s ability to defend itself.
We should hope that the next American administration will address some of these Israeli concerns, and we have a right to expect that the next Israeli government will make it its business to pursue these objectives, which have been utterly neglected by Olmert’s government. If he thinks that we have nothing to look forward to with the next U.S. administration, he is dead wrong.