Mikhail GorbacheV's rise to power in 1985 signalled the beginning of significant improvements in Soviet-Israeli relations--thoroughly examined in this carefully researched volume. Based on an analysis of Soviet behavior and interviews with Israeli and Soviet Foreign Ministry officials and PLO leaders, this study describes how eased tensions between the Soviet Union and Israel have been achieved and analyzes the Soviet Union's reasons for advancing diplomatic relations with Israel. Robert Owen Freedman follows the progress of Soviet policy from the 1985 meeting between the Soviet and Israeli ambassadors to France, to the 1987 arrival of the Soviet consular delegation in Israel, which heralded rapid improvement on the diplomatic front, to the 1989 trade agreements, cultural, academic, and athletic exchanges, and the 1990 political meetings between high ranking officials. Freedman identifies three primary goals that motivated these Soviet initiatives towards Israel: a desire to improve relations with the United States; a desire to play a major role in Middle East diplomacy; and a desire for trade with Israel.
Both meticulously documented and forward-looking, the conclusions reached can stimulate discussion and provide a basis for further study for members of the academic, political, and diplomatic communities.