Defense Minister Ehud Barak praised US Defense Secretary for his role in enhancing security ties between the US and Israel as the two met in Tel Aviv on Wednesday.
"Ties between Israel an the US in the security realm are as strong and close as they have ever been, and without a doubt, a substantial part of the credit belongs to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta," Barak said.Calling Panetta "not just a personal friend for many years, but a friend of Israel," Barak went on to say that "The US and Israel see reality in much the same way, and there is much to discuss, as the regional problems are serious and numerous."
Speaking before the meeting, Panetta said, "Our countries have a strong bond, not only of friendship but of security."
"We will do everything we can to defend both of our countries," he added.
Panetta is also scheduled to meet with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres while in Israel.