demonstrated a commitment to Israel’s security and to maintaining close U.S.-Israel defense,
diplomatic, and economic cooperation. U.S. and Israeli leaders have pursued common security
goals and have developed close relations based on common perceptions of shared democratic
values and religious affinities. U.S. policymakers often seek to determine how regional events
and U.S. policy choices may affect Israel’s security, and Congress provides active oversight of the
executive branch’s dealings with Israel and the broader Middle East. Some Members of Congress
and some analysts criticize what they perceive as insufficiently critical support of Israel. Other
than Afghanistan, Israel is the leading recipient of U.S. foreign aid and is a frequent purchaser of
major U.S. weapons systems. The United States and Israel maintain close security cooperation—
predicated on a U.S. commitment to maintain Israel’s “qualitative military edge” over other
countries in its region. The two countries signed a free trade agreement in 1985, and the United
States is Israel’s largest trading partner. For more information, see CRS Report RL33222, U.S.
Foreign Aid to Israel, by Jeremy M. Sharp.