For decades, as Israel has struggled to survive we have rejoiced in your triumphs and shared in your agonies. In the years since Israel was founded, Americans of every faith have admired and supported you. . . . In times of war and times of peace, every President of the United States since Harry Truman, and every Congress, has understood the importance of Israel. The survival of Israel is important not only to our interests, but to every single value we hold dear as a people. . . . I am committed to working with our Congress jot to maintain the current levels of military and economic assistance. We have taken concrete steps to strengthen Israel's qualitative edge. . . . As we help to overcome the risks of peace, we also are helping to build a peace that will bring with it the safety and security Israel deserves.
-- President Bill Clinton in an address to the Israeli Knesset, October 27, 1994
Israel is a special case in international relations. Although far away from the major world centers and comprising a small proportion of the world's territory and a small segment of its population, Israel elicits a high level of interest and receives a disproportionate amount of attention. Its actions are carefully scrutinized and analyzed for both their obvious and hidden meanings and for their long-term effects. Because Israel is an open society with a vigorous and free press and with substantial possibilities for debating the national interest and other matters, there is little about it that is not the subject of controversy. The