US Ambassador Jack Lew spoke to the Herzliyah Conference, convened by the Reichman University today, about the Israel-US partnership.

''The best way to define the strategic relationship between the United States and Israel is to look at what's happened over the last eight months. Any question about the US support for Israel is something I don't understand. That doesn't mean we haven't asked questions, but we're not at a different point in terms of the US support for Israel."

He also commented on his vision for the future of the conflict. ''We have been urging Israel to defeat Hamas as a military and governing power. The provision of humanitarian assistance has been crucial to keeping the pathway open to success. When the war ends there has to be a vision for a future. Israel can't be exposed to another October 7th, but there also has to be a conversation about the future of the Palestinian people and a pathway toward a future of self-governance.''

Lew noted that such a plan for the Palestinians would have positive implications for Israel as well. ''Israel is on the brink of being accepted by all of the moderate Arab countries. I don't think you can get there if you don't also have a pathway for dealing with the legitimate interests of the Palestinian people. Getting a Palestinian state, a demilitarized autonomous governing body that provides for security and dignity, would be a defeat for Hamas."

Lew also noted that doing so would unite many countries against the Iranian axis. ''We saw a hint of the power that could give us during the Iranian attack. An alliance of moderate countries against Iran's extremism would bring enormous benefits.''

He also urged a prisoner exchange deal as part of a ceasefire. "People need to come home to their families, and that's just a human issue that has to be resolved. Strategically, a hostage deal and ceasefire would open a doorway to a discussion with Hezbollah about avoiding a war and to normalization discussions with Saudi Arabia."

One party that will need to be involved in the process, Lew claimed, is the Palestinian Authority. ''There's only one group of people who can do the work to make civil order come back. We've got to figure out how to get those people to work in a way that meets everybody's needs.''

Lew addressed a remark by US Air Force General Charles Brown, who serves as the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who recently warned that the US will have a hard time aiding Israel in the event of a war against Hezbollah. ''We've made clear that we continue to support Israel and its need to defend itself. We've also made clear that we think the right course of action is to try to avoid a war in the north. We're urging a diplomatic solution.''

Lew has a certain degree of optimism going forward. ''This war could end in a better place. Israel is already in a better place in several ways, and its resilience has been inspiring. The United States and Israel as partners can succeed in almost anything that we work together on.''

Lew has set the future of the region as his personal goal while in office. ''I thought I was coming into a position where the number one objective would be completing a Saudi normalization deal while I was here. I'm committed to still having that be the objective.''