Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday expressed his appreciation of the United States' support of Israel's security and his hope that the two countries will continue to tighten their cooperation in this field.
In a joint press conference with US Secretary of State Chuck Hagel in Jerusalem Netanyahu said, "In the last four years we greatly enhanced our defense and security relationship and I'm absolutely confident that we will continue to further strengthen this under your stewardship of the American defense establishment. This is important because we face many challenges. "
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Netanyahu further added, "Israel appreciates deeply the military and security support that it enjoys from the United States. It reflects a very deep alliance between our two countries and the defense of our common interests and values.
"Nowhere are these values and interests challenged more than by the arming of terrorist groups by Iran with sophisticated weapons and equally Iran itself with nuclear weapons."
The prime minister stressed that this is a challenge that Israel "cannot accept and as you and President Obama have repeatedly said Israel must be able to defend itself by itself against any threat."
Hagel thanked Netanyahu for "his personal courtesies" and added that he has always appreciated Israel and its people noting his past trips to the country. "Israel is a model for the world," he said. "The relationship between the two countries is as strong as it's ever been. It is based on common values and respect for others."
"The region is not getting any less complicated, this is a difficult and dangerous time. This is a time when friends and allies must remain closer than ever, I'm committed to continue to strengthen this relationship and secure this relationship."
Hagel noted he had "very good conversations" with Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon and President Shimon Peres. "I believe that working together with our allies and friends we will be able to do what's better for your country and my country and make this region a better region, and make it and Israel more secure."
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