Secretary Austin and Minister Gantz
Secretary Austin and Minister Gantz Shmulik Almany

In the framework of an official visit to the U.S., this morning, Defense Minister Benny Gantz met with his counterpart, Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III in the Pentagon.

During the meeting, Minister Gantz thanked Secretary Austin for the ongoing cooperation between the respective defense establishments and for the Secretary’s personal commitment to the security of the State of Israel. This includes his support for the recent passing of the $4.8 billion security package. Within this context, he emphasized the importance of continuing support for Israel’s qualitative military edge (QME).

Minister Gantz and Secretary Austin also covered security challenges of mutual interest, first and foremost the Iranian nuclear threat and regional aggression. Minister Gantz emphasized the historic changes in the region alongside the mounting threat posed by Iran’s aggression and support for terrorism. In light of the changing regional architecture, he stressed a critical need for a practical coalition under U.S. leadership, together with regional partners in facing Iran.

They discussed the current situation in Ukraine. Minister Gantz emphasized Israel’s support for Ukraine, including the provision of humanitarian aid and non-offensive equipment, as well as the Prime Minister’s efforts to facilitate communication between the parties. He noted that these actions are taken while maintaining a policy in line with operational considerations, while ensuring regional stability.

Minister Gantz also debriefed Secretary Austin on recent security tensions in Israel, particularly the recent wave of terror. He detailed the defense establishment’s ongoing counterterrorism and intelligence efforts.

The meeting was attended by Israel’s Ambassador to the U.S., Director of the Policy and POL-MIL Bureau, and Military Secretary.