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Hagel in Israel
Photo: Yaron Brener
Ya'alon and Hagel
Photo: Alon Basson
Ya'alon on Iran threat: Israel prefers diplomatic solution
In joint press conference with American counterpart, defense minister says diplomacy is preferable route to stopping Iran's nuclear program. Hagel: US provides Israel with air supremacy in Middle East

US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel reiterated Washington's commitment to Israel's security during a visit to the country on Monday.

 

In a joint press conference with Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon in Tel Aviv, Hagel said that it has been agreed that the US will provide Israel with a line of military means including missiles, advanced radar systems, tanker jets and V-22 Osprey jets, which Israel will be the first to receive.

 

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The secretary of defense explained that this would guarantee Israeli air supremacy in the region and will provide the Air Force with long term options.


שר הביטחון יעלון לצד עמיתו האמריקני  (צילום: ירון ברנר)

Chuck Hagel and Moshe Ya'alon (Photo: Yaron Brener) 

 

Ya'alon discussed the threat Iran poses to the region and the world and stated that while Israel prefers a diplomatic solution to the crisis with the Islamic Republic, it maintains the right to self defense.


הייגל מעיין בתמונות שרי הביטחון (צילום: אריאל חרמוני)

Examining defense ministers (Photo: Ariel Hermony)

 

Asked about his past statements against a military operation in Iran, Hagel said he has always maintained that every option should be on the table. He added that he supports President Barack Obama's stance on Iran which is not to allow it to obtain nuclear weapons.

 

Hagel and Ya'alon appeared to get along well during the press conference and the former thanked the Israeli minister for his "professional leadership."

 

Hagel landed in Israel on Sunday and said that the United States and Israel see "exactly the same" threat from Iran, but differ on when it may reach the point of requiring US or Israeli military action.

 

Hagel held out hope for a nonmilitary way to ending the threat of a nuclear-armed Iran, but he also emphasized Washington's willingness to let Israel decide whether and when it might strike Tehran in self-defense.

 

Roi Kais contributed to this report

 

 

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