John Kerry, Moshe Ya'alon
John Kerry, Moshe Ya'alon Matty Stern/US Embassy/Flash90

US President Barack Obama's administration announced on Friday that it appreciates Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon's (Likud) leadership, and will work with his successor.

Ya'alon made a surprising announcement Friday that he is resigning but intends to return and contend for the leadership, after Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu decided to give his post of Defense Minister to MK Avigdor Liberman as a condition to have his Yisrael Beytenu party join the coalition.

"We appreciate Mr. Ya'alon's leadership and partnership as defense minister and we look forward to working with his successor," said State Department spokesperson John Kirby.

"Our bonds of friendship are unbreakable, and commitment to the security of Israel remains absolute."

Kirby's statement of appreciation for Ya'alon comes despite a rocky history between the State Department and the outgoing Defense Minister.

Back in January 2014 during Secretary of State John Kerry's intense push on peace talks, Ya'alon rejected Kerry's plans for massive Israeli withdrawals and called him "obsessive" and "messianic."

The US responded with shock, calling the remarks "offensive" and "inappropriate." Ya'alon later apologized for the remarks, stating that he had no intention of "offending" Kerry.

However, the peace talks were torpedoed not long thereafter, when Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas signed a unity deal with Hamas in April 2014.

Ya'alon's opposition to Kerry led to backlash, and in October 2014 sources in Washington said Ya'alon was denied meetings with top US officials during a visit to America.