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      US Ambassador Seeks to Smooth Over Week's Flaps

      Dan Shapiro emphasized the value of the U.S.- Israel friendship, but said that better communication was needed
      By David Lev
      First Publish: 9/13/2012, 11:00 AM

      Dan Shapiro
      Dan Shapiro
      Israel news photo: Flash 90

      After what appeared to be a rocky week in Israel-U.S. relations, the American ambassador to Israel, Dan Shapiro, on Wednesday night emphasized the importance and value of the friendship between the U.S. and Israel. “The United States is completely committed to Israel, and will prevent any threat to Israel, including that of a nuclear Iran. This threat will never become a reality.”

      Shapiro was speaking to some of the elite members of Israel's political, diplomatic, and military establishment at a pre-Rosh Hashana gathering in his home. The statement came after a week in which apparent differences of opinion on how to handle Iran simmered between Washington and Jerusalem, with the U.S. turning down an Israeli request that it set “red lines” that Iran dare not pass as part of its nuclear program.

      There was also a flap over a meeting between Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and President Barack H. Obama that was – maybe – supposed to take place in several weeks, with Israeli officials saying that the White House had cancelled the meeting over “scheduling issues,” and Obama saying that no meeting had been scheduled.

      While the U.S. was fully committed to Israeli security, Shapiro said, “we must find new ways to deepen our cooperation, to strengthen the coordination between us, and to improve communication, in public and in private talks.”

      Among those attending the event were Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Energy and Water Minister Uzi Landau, and Netanyahu's Chief of Staff, Yitzchak Molcho.