Benny Gantz
Benny Gantz David Cohen/Flash90

Israel's Defense Minister Benny Gantz praised the Friday appointment of new American Defense Secretary, General Lloyd Austin.

"Congratulations to my good friend, General Lloyd Austin upon his appointment as US Defense Secretary. In this challenging moment, I'm certain he is the right person for the task ahead," Gantz said in a statement.

"My friendship with General Austin, dates back to our military service. He's a brave and honest leader and a visionary commander, who is very familiar with the Middle East, as well as Israel’s security needs.

"I am certain that together we will further the cooperation between our Armed Forces and Defense establishments, ensuring our shared interests and values are ironclad."

Austin, the first African-American Defense Secretary, retired in 2016 and had to be granted a waiver from a law requiring a Defense Secretary to wait seven years after active-duty service before taking the job. The House approved the waiver Thursday afternoon, paving the way for the Senate's approval of the measure.

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