Defense Minister Ehud Barak responded Wednesday morning to allegations from the Likud that he has been acting to deepen a rift with the United States.

The Defense Minister's Office said that "Barak tries to contribute -- usually successfully -- to lowering tensions and strengthening security ties," Army Radio reported.

Independence MK Shalom Simhon told Army Radio on Wednesday that Barak's meeting with Rahm Emanuel last month was simply a meeting between old friends, and that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was appraised of the meeting. Simhon also shot down the idea that one minister could alter the state of relations between two allies like the United States and Israel.

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