Former US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who received the 'Crown of Israel' award from the Israel Heritage Foundation (IHF) on Sunday, spoke about his tenure as director of the CIA and the agency’s close relationship with the Mossad during that time.

Pompeo, speaking from Manhattan, recounts how on his fourth or fifth day as CIA director he flew to Israel “to meet with the best looking spy I’ve ever met, a fellow named Yossi Cohen, he was the director of Mossad.”

“I’d not met him, I knew of him. I knew that he, unlike me, had been a career member of the espionage service there. I flew there to tell him that you know the history between Mossad and CIA was often one which worked together but with a bit of antagonism,” Pompeo recalls. “You can imagine, the CIA – big, powerful, global, arrogant – and Mossad – focused and really good. Sometimes they each want to take credit for things around the world."

"I told Director Cohen, who's now become one of my best friends in the whole world, I said, ‘Yossi, we're going to make our two teams work together. We're going to find a way to do this on behalf of each of our two nations. Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Trump are going to demand that we are prepared to defend ourselves from Iran. I don't know what day, I don't know what week, I couldn't tell you how or when but we need to be prepared to do that.’ He'd had the same idea so he flew to meet my team at Langley, then I flew back to Israel to meet his team and we told each of our senior teams so we said, 'We're going to work together. We're going to be better together. The CIA has resources all over the world and a thousand lawyers. Mossad has people focused on one bad guy and can do anything the Prime Minister wants him to do. This is magic.’”

“Even to this day everyone in this room is more secure because of the remarkable work that our teams did together,” Pompeo remarks.

“To this day, when something blows up in Tehran, [Yossi Cohen] calls me – we don't say where, we just smile and hang up the phone," Pompeo says. "I tell that story not because of any personal pride but because it set the tone for the cooperation that extended all across the Trump administration, from diplomatic to intelligence to our departments of defense working together to deliver good outcomes for our two nations. When we did that, we made the Middle East far more secure and prosperous, and indeed we made the world more secure and prosperous.”

Pompeo says that he regrets that “so much of the goodwill that we had done no longer exists."

"I pray that we're able to bring that back again," he comments. "It not only matters to me and to my son and I pray one day to our grandchildren, but to the people of Israel, the people of the Middle East and indeed people all across the world. This relationship matters. When we get it right it is magic.”