Lloyd Austin and Benjamin Netanyahu. (Koby Gideon/GPO)


“The regime in Tehran today poses a strategic threat to world security, the Middle East and the State of Israel,” Benny Gantz told Lloyd Austin.

By United with Israel Staff and TPS

U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin was received in Israel by his host Defense Minister Benny Gantz on Sunday in the Kirya Headquarters in Tel Aviv. He is the first senior Biden administration official to visit Israel.

Later in the day, Austin appeared with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

“The U.S.-Israel defense partnership has continually expanded over successive administrations and our cooperation is crucial in dealing with the many threats confronting both the United States and Israel,” said Netanyahu.

“In the Middle East, there is no threat more dangerous, serious and pressing than that posed by the fanatical regime in Iran,” Netanyahu added. “Mr. Secretary, we both know the horrors of war. We both understand the importance of preventing war. And we both agree that Iran must never possess nuclear weapons. My policy as prime minister of Israel is clear — I will never allow Iran to obtain the nuclear capability to carry out its genocidal goal of eliminating Israel.”

Earlier in the day, Austin held a series of professional meetings with Gantz, Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi, Director General of the Ministry of Defense Amir Eshel and other senior officials from the Ministry of Defense and the IDF.

In comments to the press, Gantz stated that he emphasized to Austin that Israel sees the US “as a full partner on all operational fronts – the first of which is Iran.”

“The regime in Tehran today poses a strategic threat to world security, the Middle East and the State of Israel. We will continue to work with our American partners to ensure that any agreement with Iran safeguards the vital interests of the world and the United States, avoids a nuclear arms race in the region and protects the State of Israel,” he underscored.

Referring to the decision of the International Court in The Hague to launch a war crimes probe against Israel, Gantz said that “in the IDF as well as in US military forces, the values ​​of human decency are an integral part of the actions we take on the battlefield. For all our enemies who seek to use our morals against us and cynically exploit The Hague, I say clearly that they will never succeed in preventing us from fulfilling our duty.”

“We will at all times keep the moral imperative to protect human life and at the same time we will preserve our humanity,” he clarified.

He thanked Austin for the US’ “uncompromising commitment” to the preservation of Israel’s Military Qualitative Edge.

Austin said he was pleased with the talks on some security issues that are important to both countries.

“Our bilateral relations with Israel are central. During our meeting, I reiterated our commitment to Israel,” he said.