Israel cannot accept a nuclear Iran and it reserves the right to defend itself
against this threat, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told visiting US
Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel before their meeting on Tuesday
“Israel must be able to defend itself, by itself, against any
threat,” Netanyahu said.
He thanked the United States for its continued
support, particularly in the defense and security arenas.
“It reflects a
very deep alliance between our two countries and the defense of our common
interests and our common values,” he said.
Israel and the US have greatly
enhanced their security and defense relationships in the last four years,
“I am absolutely confident that we [will] continue to
further strengthen this under your stewardship of the American defense
establishment,” he said.
Earlier, Hagel visited the IDF’s elite Oketz dog
unit at a special training facility near Modi’in.
Hagel spoke with some
of the special forces and was shown an exhibition of their
From Israel he heads to Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the
United Arab Emirates before returning to the US on April 26.
meeting with Netanyahu, Hagel lauded his country’s relationship with
“The region is not getting any less complicated. This is a
difficult and dangerous time. This is a time when friends and allies must remain
close, closer than ever,” Hagel said.
“I’m committed to continue to
strengthen this relationship, secure this relationship, and as you know, one of
the main reasons I’m here is to do that.
“I believe together, working
with our allies and our friends, we will be able to do what is right for your
country, [and] my country, and make this region a better region and a more
secure region, and make Israel more secure,” he said.
Hagel arrived in
Israel on Sunday to conclude a major arms sale, that includes V-22 Osprey
helicopter-plane aircraft, refueling tankers, advanced radars for fighter jets
and advanced missiles that target air defenses.
The arms deal is part of
a wider $10 billion package involving US sales to Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the
United Arab Emirates, designed to provide Washington’s allies in the region with
enhanced military capabilities against Iran. The UAE will take stock of 25 F-16
Desert Falcon jets worth nearly five billion dollars.