Sec. Hagel, Minister Barak: "US-Israeli Defense Relationship Has Never Been Stronger’"

Sec. Hagel Meets with Minister Barak

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    Photo Credit: Department of Defense

    ​Secretary Hagel hosted Israeli Minister of Defense Ehud Barak today at the Pentagon for his first meeting with a foreign counterpart since taking office as Secretary of Defense.  Secretary Hagel expressed his strong commitment to Israel’s security, including maintaining Israel’s qualitative military edge and continued U.S. support for missile and rocket defense systems in spite of fiscal constraints.

    Secretary Hagel and Minister Barak agreed that the United States-Israeli defense relationship has never been stronger than during the Obama administration and that both nations will continue this unprecedented close cooperation.

    The leaders discussed the range of security interests shared by the U.S. and Israel, including the need for the Syrian regime to maintain control over chemical and biological weapons in their country; the leaders pledged to continue U.S.-Israel contingency planning to counter that potential threat.

    Regarding Iran, Secretary Hagel reiterated that President Obama is committed to preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon with all options on the table.  He stated that the United States continues to believe there is still time​ to address this issue through diplomacy, but that window is closing.

    DM Barak wished US Secretary of Defense Hagel the best of luck in his new position and expressed his confidence that he will carry on serving the American people in the same manner which he has served throughout his life as a public figure.

    Secretary Hagel noted the two have had an outstanding working relationship dating back to Minister Barak’s days as Prime Minister and he thanked Minister Barak for his kind words at the AIPAC policy conference. Secretary Hagel expressed his desire to visit Israel soon and Minister Barak stated that Israel looks forward to hosting him in the near future.

    Ambassador Michael Oren added, “I have worked with two Secretaries of Defense and I have witnessed how our security and military relationships have grown closer and strengthened. I am certain that these relations will continue and deepen during Secretary Hagel’s tenure. We look forward to working with him and President Obama to overcome the mutual challenges that face our two nations.”

    (Readout provided by the U.S. Department of Defense)​

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    Photo Credit: Department of Defense