By Matthew Lee AP Diplomatic Writer—

THE ISSUE: Support for Israel has been a mainstay of American foreign policy since the Jewish state’s creation in 1948. Despite occasionally strong and even pointed differences, successive U.S. administrations of both parties have steadily increased financial, military and diplomatic assistance to Israel over the past six decades. The U.S. now provides Israel with roughly $3 billion every year, making it the largest single recipient of American foreign aid, and the Obama administration boosted that amount to $3.8 billion with a new memorandum of understanding on defense.

Public debate over Washington’s pro-Israel position has intensified in recent years – notably over the Iran nuclear deal that Israel opposes, failed efforts to forge an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal and Israel’s continued construction in territory claimed by the Palestinians. But the Democratic and Republican parties and their presidential candidates have never wavered from that stance and strong congressional backing for Israel makes any significant change in policy unlikely.  Read on…