Israeli defense minister changes tone

Israeli defense minister changes tone
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Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon called Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey "a true friend" to Israel during a meeting on Sunday.

The meeting came weeks afer Ya'alon harshly criticized the Obama administration's foreign policy, which he suggested was weak.


On Sunday, Ya’alon assured Dempsey that the alliance with the U.S. was a “cornerstone” of Israeli security, Haaretz reported

He thanked Dempsey for “being a true friend” to Israel and the Israel Defense Forces.

The two officials met in Jerusalem to discuss developments in the Middle East and how both countries can work together, the report said. 

“We truly appreciate the close relations between the United States and Israel. For us, the United States is a strategic ally and our greatest friend. Our relations with the United States are a cornerstone of Israel's national security,” Ya’alon said.

His comments come in stark contrast to what he said about the United States and Obama administration about a week ago. 

In a speech at Tel Aviv University, Ya’alon criticized President Obama for having a weak foreign policy, and said Israel could no longer depend on the U.S. to lead nuclear negotiations with Iran.

Ya’alon said America’s power in the world has become increasingly diminished.

“Weakness certainly does not pay in the world," he said. "No one can replace the U.S. as the world's policeman. I hope the U.S. will come to its senses.”

The comments prompted Kerry to call Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to protest the insults. Ya’alon eventually called Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to clarify his remarks. Israeli media reports said Ya’alon had called Hagel to apologize. 

Dempsey also met with Netanyahu in Israel on Sunday, just a day before Kerry headed that way. The State Department announced he would travel to Jerusalem and Ramallah on Monday in an effort to salvage peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.