Israel has become an American economic interest, “beyond the basis of cooperation of common values and democracy”, Israeli ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren told Globes news.
After keeping a low media profile for months, in order to keep out of the U.S. presidential elections campaign, Oren affirmed that the close strategic relations between the two countries was one of the few issues on which Democrats and Republicans agreed in both Houses of Congress.
“The US-Israeli alliance has always been based on values, democracy, and common strategic interests," Oren told Globes. "But now there is another foundation: the economic and commercial ties between the two countries, which are growing at a dizzying pace. In the past 20 years, bilateral trade has increased 350%. Almost every large US high-tech company has activity in Israel."
"At a time when the US is outsourcing countless jobs to China, Israel is outsourcing to the US. Many American workers are employed at enterprises of Israeli companies there," Oren continued.
"There is no question that Israel has become a US economic interest, and one of the strategic repercussions of this development is that the US agreed to extend the loan guarantees last month," he said. "At least in terms of intelligence, I say this with the fullest authority, as a man who is familiar with the contacts between the two countries."
Oren dismissed the perceived weakened relations between the two countries during the Obama administration.
"Obama says that he has spent more time with Netanyahu than with any other world leader,” Oren said. “I was present at all of these meetings, and I can testify that they were all open and friendly. There have been disagreements between the US and Israel in the past, but they have been greatly reduced now."
"We haven’t always agreed with the administration,” he told Globes. “Early in Obama's term, there were disagreements over the peace process. The president demanded concessions from Israel on the settlements in the hope that the Palestinians would make corresponding concessions. The prime minister ordered the construction freeze for ten months, but the Palestinians made no corresponding concession, and the administration did not focus on this issue again.”
“Today, there are no differences between the US and Israel over the settlements or Jerusalem, and although the Obama administration isn't enthusiastic about the settlements, it doesn’t put them at the top of the agenda. At the same time, the two countries are determined to prevent a unilateral Palestinian move in the UN," Oren said.