מזכיר ההגנה של ארה"ב נוחת בישראל זיו סוקולוב, שגרירות ארה"ב

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin landed in Israel Sunday morning, becoming the first senior official from the Biden Administration to visit the Jewish State. Austin will meet with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Benny Gantz.

The Secretary of Defense's delegation consists of several dozen staff members, including a group of journalists who will accompany him throughout his visit to Israel, Germany and other countries. Israel will be the first country on Austin's second visit outside the United States and he will spend two days meeting with Israeli officials.

Austin will arrive at the Kirya (IDF headquarters) in Tel Aviv today and will be received at an official reception, the first to be held at the Kirya since the begiining of the coronavirus pandemic, and then a round of meetings attended by Defense Minister Benny Gantz, Defense Ministry Director-General Amir Eshel, the head of the Strategy and Third-Circle Directorate, Maj. Gen. Tal Kalman, and the head of the Political-Military Bureau at the Defense Ministry, Zohar Palti.

The next day, Austin and Defense Minister Ganz will visit the Nevatim Airbase and receive a briefing from Air Force Commander Maj. Gen. Amikam Norkin, as well as receive an overview of a series of security developments developed by Israeli industries in cooperation with the US.

Afterwards, Austin and Gantz will hold a joint tour of Yad Vashem and lay a wreath at the Memorial Hall on Mount Herzl ahead of this week's Memorial Day for Israeli soldiers who fell defending the state and civilians who were murdered in terrorist attacks.

Austin will continue from there to a meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu and will then end his visit.

The focus of the discussions will be on a number of issues, including: Continuing military trade between the two countries, maintaining Israel's qualitative military edge, deepening intelligence cooperation in the region, the US presence in the Middle East, the nuclear agreement with Iran and the Iranian aggression in the Middle East, and strengthening regional cooperation, such as relations with Jordan, Egypt and other Gulf states.

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