Israel “greatly disagrees” with the nuclear deal between the world powers and Iran, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon told visiting US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter during a press conference at the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv on Monday.
Jerusalem “fears for the future in the aftermath of its signing,” Ya’alon said. “Yet we discuss this issue in a fully open manner, alongside many other issues of great importance.”
The remarks followed a warm welcome by Ya’alon to Carter, whom he described as “my good friend.”
“Over the years, you have proved to be a true friend of the State of Israel and someone who makes Israel’s security a top priority,” the defense minister said.
Israel and US ready their response to post-deal Iran
“There are few people who know just how great your contribution has been to the security of the State of Israel, as it has mostly transpired behind the scenes. Yet your contribution is the very essence of just how strong the relationship is between the United States and Israel, and between the defense establishments of both countries,” Ya’alon said.
“The scope and depth of the relationship between the defense establishments of the United States and Israel are unprecedented – between the Pentagon and the Ministry of Defense, between our armed forces, intelligence corps and defense industries,” he added.
Carter traveled to Israel to allay fears in Jerusalem over the deal reached between the world powers and Iran last week regarding Tehran’s nuclear program, and is scheduled to continue to Jordan and Saudi Arabia for the same purpose.
Ya’alon declared that there is “no greater friend of the State of Israel than the United States of America, who provides us our strategic backbone. At this very moment, as we stand here, the United States and Israel continue working together on highly sophisticated technological ventures, joint military training and other cooperative projects.”
The news conference came after prolonged discussions between Carter and Ya’alon on Monday morning, which focused on the situation in the Middle East. The two men also flew to northern Israel to a “strategic vantage point,” Ya’alon added.
“The nations surrounding us are falling apart and are being replaced by a multitude of terror organizations armed not only with advanced weaponry, but with murderous ideology. These terror organizations, most unfortunately, kill innocent civilians and strive to aim their weapons at the State of Israel and other allies of the United States,” the defense minister said.
The regional upheaval “demands all of us – the United States, Israel and other nations – to act wisely, responsibly and soberly, to identify opportunities and act together to vigorously combat these threats” he continued.
“We must prevent the evil powers – including the merciless terror regime of Iran, [Syrian President Bashar] Assad’s regime, Hezbollah, Hamas and the global Islamic Jihad – from further igniting the already inflamed Middle East.”
Ya’alon also urged the US and Israel to continue to work closely together, saying: “Even the deepest divisions – and there are such differences of opinion between us – will not impact our great friendship and solid relationship.”
Carter said during his remarks that “Israel’s security and military edge are a top priority for America, our military, and for me.” He added that the Iran deal “changes nothing for the Department of Defense,” declaring: “Our pledge to defend Israel is rock solid, and the alliance has never been stronger.”
There is no better friend to the State of Israel than the US, he said. •