In a sign of continuing US caution, Israel has not been included in the coterie of countries with which Washington shares sensitive intelligence. The members of the "Five Eyes" group, consisting of the US, Britain, Australia, Canada and New Zealand, have promised not to spy on each other -- a condition Israel would have regularly flouted were it a member.
Indeed, Israel has even stolen the identities of nationals from these countries to assist in Mossad operations. Most notoriously, Israel forged passports to smuggle Israeli agents into Dubai in 2010 to assassinate Hamas leader Mahmoud Al Mabhouh.
Israel is far from a trusted ally in the US "war on terror." A former intelligence official told the Associated Press in July that Israel ranked lower than Libya in a list of countries helping to fight terrorism compiled by the Bush administration after September 11.
So why all the talk of a special bond if the relationship is characterized by such deep mistrust?
Part of the answer lies in the formidably intimidating tactics of the pro-Israel lobby in Washington. New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman spoke for a growing number of observers last year when he wrote that the US Congress was effectively "bought and paid for" by Israel's lobbyists.
That power was all too evident last week when the Democratic national convention adopted an amended policy designating Jerusalem as Israel's capital, in opposition to both international law and the vocal wishes of delegates.
But there is another, less spoken-of reason. Francis Perrin, the head of the French Atomic Agency in the 1950s and 1960s, when France was helping Israel develop a nuclear weapon against the wishes of the US, once observed that the Israeli bomb was really "aimed against the Americans."
Not because Israel wanted to attack the US, but because it realized that -- once it possessed the only nuclear arsenal in the Middle East -- the US would rarely risk standing in its way, however much its policies ran counter to US interests.
For that reason, if no other, Israel is determined to stop any rival, including Iran, from getting a nuclear weapon that would end its monopoly.
A version of this article first appeared in The National, Abu Dhabi.
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