History, Department of


First Advisor

Thomas Borstelmann

Second Advisor

Bedross Der Matossian

Third Advisor

Gerald Steinacher

Date of this Version



A DISSERTATION Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy, Major: History, Under the Supervision of Professor Thomas Borstelmann. Lincoln, Nebraska: July, 2021

Copyright © 2021 Sean D. Scanlon


This dissertation demonstrates how the relationship between the United States and the State of Israel underwent a significant transformation during 1970s and 1980s. After more than two decades of limited American aid since Israel declared its independence in 1948, the United States under Presidents Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, and Ronald Reagan dramatically increased its support for Israel in the wake of the October War of 1973. This increased level of support is most apparent in the level of U.S. military aid provided to Israel, which Israel received under extremely favorable terms. The deepening of U.S.-Israeli ties from 1973 onwards occurred despite the fact that there were very real differences between U.S. and Israeli national and strategic interests, differences that sometimes erupted into fierce disagreements between American and Israeli officials. U.S. support for Israel was based on several factors, including Israel’s perceived value as a strategic ally during the Cold War, Americans’ vision of Israel as a fellow democracy with similar political, cultural, and religious values, and the large number of Jewish and Christian supporters in the United States. The 1970s and 1980s are also important for the U.S.-Israeli relationship because these years saw an important shift among Israel’s supporters in the United States. While American Jews had traditionally been Israel’s strongest backers, from the 1970s onwards American evangelical Christians emerged as some of Israel’s most vocal champions in the United States.

Adviser: Thomas Borstelmann