The future of the relationship between Israel and America is deeply uncertain: the current political leadership of both countries is hostile to the other, there is no longer a sense of shared strategic focus, and demographic changes are forcing the countries further apart with every passing year. The Start-up Nation may be enjoying a tech boom, but it also has booming inequality, booming numbers of poor and underemployed people, and booming numbers of orthodox religious conservatives (half of all Israeli preschoolers are Arab or ultra-Orthodox). In America, the increasing numbers of Jews marrying outside the faith and the precipitous decline of the influence of Evangelical Christians has narrowed the base of people devoted to the land of Israel. In the face of tectonic shifts, the alliance between America and Israel is strained to the point of rupture.
The situation is dangerous for both sides, and it comes at a dangerous time for the Middle East, which will be wracked by the aftereffects of the Arab uprisings and the growth of ISIS for a generation. And for America, the success of the pivot to Asia” will be undermined by a departure from the Middle East that leaves Israel in the role of regional wrecking ball.
Undermining the relationship between Israel and the US is the fact that it was never clearly defined. The ambiguity has been politically helpful, but now threatens the future: there is no treaty, no agreed set of obligations, no mutual dependence. So when things get sour there is nothing to fall back upon except historical memory. Simon and Allin are among the shrewdest analysts of and practitioners inside the world of US-Israeli diplomacy. They have written an urgent, revelatory book showing the emerging fault lines between two previously staunch allies and the tremendous perils of a schism. And, they offer ways in which even at this late, disgruntled, embittered stage, the two sides might yet find a way toward a common future.