Prime Minister Netanyahu meets with US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin at the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem.
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu met Monday with US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin at the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem. Secretary Austin is the first senior official from the Biden administration to visit Israel. The two discussed a number of issues, including continuing military trade between the two countries, maintaining Israel’s qualitative military edge, and deepening intelligence cooperation in the region.
Other issues discussed include the US presence in the Middle East, the nuclear agreement with Iran and the Iranian aggression in the Middle East, and strengthening regional cooperation, such as relations with Jordan, Egypt and other Gulf states.
Earlier on Monday, Austin met with Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz (Blue and White) and toured the Nevatim Air Force base in southern Israel. After their meeting, Netanyahu and Austin gave a joint press briefing. Netanyahu warned that Iran is continuing its efforts to achieve nuclear weapons – and to annihilate Israel. “You just said a moment ago in our meeting that we’re not just allies, we’re family. We call that ‘mishpacha’,” said Netanyahu. “There is so much truth in that statement that our peoples instinctively understand.” “As you know the US-Israel defense partnership has continually expanded over successive administrations. Our cooperation is crucial for dealing with the many threats confronting the United States and Israel – threats that you are very familiar with by your service in Iraq.” “In the Middle East, there is no threat that is more serious, more dangerous, more pressing than that posed by the fanatical regime in Iran. Iran continues to support terrorists around the world on five continents, threatening civilians everywhere. Iran has never given up its quest for nuclear weapons and the missiles to deliver them. And Iran consistently and outrageously calls for Israel’s annihilation and works towards that goal.”
“We both know the importance of preventing war, and we both know that Iran must never possess nuclear weapons.”
“I will never allow Iran to obtain the nuclear capability of carrying out its genocidal goal of eliminating Israel. Israel will continue to defend itself against Iran’s aggression and terrorism.” After Netanyahu’s comments, Secretary of State Austin “reaffirmed America’s strong commitment to Israel,” saying he had pushed for an in-person meeting with Netanyahu early in the Biden administration’s term. “I also want to underscore my personal pledge to strengthening Israel’s security and ensuring Israel’s qualitative military edge. The close and strong ties that we enjoy with Israel are central to regional security in the Middle East.”
“We discussed ways to deepen and expand our long-standing defense relationship in the face of regional threats and other security challenges.”