'Gates will uphold solid US-Israel ties'

Ambassador Danny Ayalon: New defense secretary nominee will have "gentler face."

By HILARY LEILA KRIEGER
November 9, 2006 22:19
2 minute read.
'Gates will uphold solid US-Israel ties'

ayalon danny 298 . (photo credit: AP [file])

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later Don't show it again

Departing Ambassador to Washington Danny Ayalon said Thursday that he expected Israel's strong strategic relationship with the US to continue should Robert Gates be confirmed as the next secretary of defense. Ayalon told The Jerusalem Post by telephone from Washington that Gates would be heading a department which is "very supportive and cooperative with Israel," and that he believed the nominee would continue that tradition. President George W. Bush nominated Gates Wednesday to replace Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who resigned earlier in the day after the Republicans suffered heavy congressional election losses in a race largely focused on the war in Iraq. Gates served as the director of the Central Intelligence Agency under president George H. W. Bush, working closely with secretary of state James Baker and national security adviser Brent Scowcroft. Many American Jews and Israelis expressed reservations about that team, feeling its approach to Israel was more critical and tension-filled than those of more recent administrations. But Ayalon, who is returning after more than four years in the US capital, said that these figures weren't anti-Israel. They viewed their approach of "engaging" Arab countries as being "in Israel's interests." At any rate, some in the American Jewish community have suggested that Gates was more positively disposed toward Israel than Baker and Scowcroft. Gates, however, has reportedly been critical of the handling of the Iraq war and has spent the last eight months serving on Baker's bipartisan Iraq Study Group examining the problems of the war. Ayalon suggested that Bush's swift personnel move was a gesture to Democrats and disaffected voters, many of whom have blamed Rumsfeld for mishandling the war, as well as the international community. "Rumsfeld was a little bit tough and Gates will have a gentler face," he said. Ayalon described the midterm elections as centering on the Iraq war, but said that even with greater Democratic power in Congress "nobody's talking about cutting and running. Maybe [they'll] change tactics." Similarly, he predicted that America's national defense policy would stay largely the same. "I don't think we will see such deep differences - maybe different nuance, different rhetoric, different emphasis," he explained. And he stressed that when it came to the strong Israel-US relationship, the shake-up in Congress "will not change it at all." According to Ayalon, "We always were reaching out to Democrats and Republicans. We develop and cherish bipartisan support at all times, and I think it will pay off now as it always has."

Related Content

Tamir Naaman-Pery, an 18-year-old cellist from the Kamon moshav, in Young Musicians Eurovision 2018
August 19, 2018
Israel takes a shot at another Eurovision title

By AMY SPIRO