In the framework of an official visit to the U.S., Defense Minister, Benny Gantz met with his American counterpart, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin Thursday. The Ministers held a meaningful discussion that reflected the historic bond and strategic ties between the U.S. and Israel.
During the meeting, Minister Gantz thanked Secretary Austin for the ongoing cooperation between the respective defense establishments, which is unparalleled on all levels. He also expressed gratitude for Secretary Austin’s personal commitment and contribution to strong US-Israel relations and to the security of the State of Israel.
The Ministers discussed emerging challenges and opportunities in the region, with a particular focus on the developing challenge vis-à-vis the Iranian nuclear program and its regional aggression.
Minister Gantz and Secretary Austin also touched on the importance of maintaining Israel’s Qualitative Military Edge (QME) in an increasingly unstable region, and the critical need for the replenishment of Israel’s air defense systems.
Defense Minister, Benny Gantz: “Israel’s QME will not only guarantee the safety of our citizens, but will also enable us to leverage the positive trends in the region. Only a strong, secure Israel can extend its hand in peace to its neighbors. Only a strong and secure Israel can work with its new partners to expand normalization and create alliances against emerging threats.”
Regarding the Iranian threat, Minister Gantz said: “Iran is not just a threat to our physical security. Iran poses a concrete threat to our way of life and our shared values. In its aspirations to become a hegemon - Iran seeks to destroy all traces of freedom, human dignity and peace in the Middle East and beyond. The nuclear program is a means to its hegemonic goals.
Minister Gantz added: “I look forward to deepening our dialogue and cooperation vis-à-vis Iran, including on topics of military readiness. Iran is the biggest threat to global and regional peace and stability and building an existential threat to Israel.”