Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon (L) and US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel meet in Jerusalem.
(photo credit: ARIEL HERMONI / DEFENSE MINISTRY)
Against the backdrop of continuing tensions with the Obama administration over the stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace process, Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon is scheduled to depart late Saturday for a five-day visit to the United States, his office announced.
Ya'alon is scheduled to meet with his American counterpart, Pentagon chief Chuck Hagel, as well as other military and defense officials in Washington.
The defense minister is also due to hold working visits with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, US ambassador to the UN Samantha Power, and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio.
Ya'alon has also been invited to participate in remembrance ceremonies at Ground Zero in New York as well as Arlington National Cemetery in the capital. He is due to meet with several American Jewish leaders as well as give interviews to American news media outlets.
Among the topics that Ya'alon is likely to discuss with his American hosts are key strategic matters ranging from the Iranian nuclear matter, the Israeli-Palestinian question, the ramifications of Operation Protective Edge, and the continuing Western campaign against Islamic State and other radical organizations.
"The relationship between the United States and Israel are based on shared interests and values," the defense minister said in a press release. "We mustn't allow any disagreements to cast a pall over those interests and values."
"The US assists Israel in a variety of areas, most prominently of course in the field of security, and we must remember that and acknowledge its leaders and thank them for this," the statement read. "The respective defense establishments in both countries have a relationship whose intimacy is unprecedented in scope and importance for Israel's security."
"There is also a close, tight relationship with my friend, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel," Ya'alon said.