Fighting Among Friends

U.S.-Israeli relations are caught in a crossfire of harsh words

The rhetoric, observed a commentator in one of the year's classic understatements, was not exactly "the linguistic currency to be used between heads of government." Still, Menachem Begin's angry words were apt symbols of the latest nadir in American-Israeli relations. Responding to a tough rebuke from the Reagan Administration, Israel's choleric Prime Minister summoned U.S. Ambassador Samuel Lewis for a 72-minute tongue-lashing that was at once an irrational howl of defiance and a bleating cry of pain.

In Washington, the Administration's public answer to...

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