President Donald Trump and PM Netanyahu (AP/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Ahead of his meeting with James “Mad Dog” Mattis, Netanyahu welcomed “a great change in the direction of American policy” with the new US administration.

US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis is on the third leg of a Middle East tour of five countries – Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Israel, Qatar and Djibouti – to reaffirm “key U.S. military alliances, engage with strategic partners in the Middle East and Africa, and discuss cooperative efforts to counter destabilizing activities and defeat extremist terror organizations,” the State Department said earlier this week.

“Israel has no better friend than America. America has no better friend than Israel,” Prime Minister Netanyahu said in a statement ahead of his meeting with Mattis in Jerusalem. And this is a partnership based on common values in the deepest sense of the word. We sense a great change in the direction of American policy… I think this is a welcome change, a strategic change of American leadership and American policy.”

The Israeli leader spoke of the “common dangers are based on the twin threats of militant Islam – the Shiite extremists led by Iran and the Sunni extremists led by Daesh [Islamic State/ISIS]. We are committed to thwarting these dangers as we are committed to seize the common opportunities and great opportunities that I think are before us.”

Opportunity for ‘Understanding’ with Arab Neighbors

In that regard, he mentioned “the understanding of many of our Arab neighbors as to the commonality of the threat” posed by Iran and Radical Islamic terror.

“The two dangers that face Israel and all of the other nations in the region that are trying to maintain a stable and peaceful and prosperous region are those that I’m here to discuss with the Prime Minister, especially the week before Holocaust remembrance,” Mattis affirmed.

“I think it’s important that we remind ourselves that if good people don’t band together then bad people can do a lot of damage in this world. And we’re committed to stopping that and doing whatever it takes to pass on peace and freedom to the next generation,” he said.