Pentagon Press Secretary Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder provided the following readout:
Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III spoke by phone on Jan. 4 with Israeli Minister of Defense Yoav Gallant. Secretary Austin congratulated the Israeli Defense Minister on his appointment and reaffirmed the ironclad U.S. commitment to Israel’s security and qualitative military edge. The two leaders agreed on the need to work together to address the wide range of regional challenges, including threats posed by Iran’s destabilizing activities. They also discussed opportunities to increase military cooperation and to advance Israel’s integration in the region, building upon the Abraham Accords and Israel’s entrance into the U.S. Central Command Area of Responsibility. Secretary Austin and Minister Gallant also discussed Russia’s unprovoked war in Ukraine, including Russia’s brutal missile and drone attacks on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure and against civilian targets. Secretary Austin emphasized the importance of avoiding policies that could undermine security and stability in the West Bank, while also reaffirming his commitment to Israel’s right to self-defense. He invited the Minister to visit Washington, D.C. for an in-person meeting at the Pentagon.