These shared bonds date back to well before Israel’s founding – Puritans once lobbied the Dutch government to “transport Izraell’s sons and daughters ... to the Land promised their forefathers.”
And they have been strengthened by the tremendous upheaval in the Middle East over the past two years, Ambassador Oren argues.
The upheaval “has underscored the fact that there is only one country in the region that is stable, that has never known a second of non-democratic rule, is militarily robust, and unequivocally pro-American,” he says in an interview by phone. “There’s no other country remotely in the region like that.”
But one of Israel’s foremost experts on US-Israel ties has argued that the “special relationship” has taken a distinct turn under Mr. Obama and finds itself at a “critical crossroads.”
"The beginning of the Obama era signals that nothing lasts forever," wrote political scientist Abraham Ben-Zvi in his 2011 book, “From Truman to Obama: The Rise and Early Decline of American-Israeli Relations.”
Professor Ben-Zvi attributed that distance to Obama’s upbringing – including a stint in Jakarta, Indonesia – which was “distant both geographically and psychologically from the formative American narrative,” according to translated excerpts published by the Israeli newspaper Haaretz.
Obama’s “distance from the values and the beliefs that form the core of the pattern of special relations” helps explain his “cool and reserved attitude toward Israel," wrote Ben-Zvi.