Following a scathing phone call from US Secretary of State to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu protesting Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon's harsh comments about US President Barack Obama, Ya'alon apologized for causing any offense and highlighted his appreciation of US-Israeli relations.

In a phone conversation with US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel on Wednesday evening, Ya'alon said, "My comments were not intended to express opposition, criticism or offense to the United States or to our relationship with you," adding that a strong strategic and personal relationship with the United States is Israel's top priority.

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"I highly appreciate the relationship between Israel and the United States on all levels, and specifically between our defense administrations. I have a very deep appreciation of our diplomatic relations and of you personally," he told Hagel. "I am fully committed to these relations and to cooperation between Israel and the United States all its forms."

Hagel responded by thanking Ya'alon for his clarification. "I acknowledge that some comments were taken out of context," he said, adding that he, too, appreciates their personal and diplomatic relationship.

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