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Hagel Reaffirms U.S. Commitment to Israel’s Security

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 16, 2014 – Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel today reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to Israel’s security during a joint statement to reporters with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu before a meeting between the two leaders in Jerusalem.

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Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, left, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu make a joint statement in Jerusalem, May 16, 2014. DOD photo by Erin A. Kirk-Cuomo

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“As you said in the United States earlier this year,” Hagel said to Netanyahu, “America's support for Israel is at an all-time high, and it is. And that applies especially to our defense relationship. Our defense relationship is strong, as we both know, and I think the people of Israel and the United States know it's strong because it's about a lot more than defense.

“The United States support for Israel is anchored in our nation's commitment to democracy and freedom and rights for our people,” Hagel continued. “America's commitment to Israel's security is resolute.”

The secretary noted to Netanyahu that the Juniper Cobra 14 military exercise he visited yesterday with Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon demonstrates that commitment completely.

“It also demonstrates the cutting-edge work our nations are doing together on rocket and missile defense,” he added, “and I appreciate your comments on that point -- work that had strengthened Israel's security and saved lives.”

In his remarks, Netanyahu said that foremost among the topics he and Hagel would discuss is the danger posed to their countries and to world peace by Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons. Hagel said the United States will do what it must to live up to its commitment to ensure Iran does not obtain a nuclear weapon.

The meeting also would touch on how to advance genuine peace and how to advance solid security in a region that is fraught with instability and insecurity, the prime minister said. “And I think that one of the things that creates an anchor of security is the close relationship between Israel and the United States, a relationship that is based both on value and a common determination to uphold our joint security,” he added.

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