Rice looks to reassure Israel on security

Security cooperation between the United States and Israel has reached "unprecedented levels" under President Obama, National Security Adviser Susan RiceSusan RiceAn unquestioning press promotes Rep. Adam Schiff's book based on Russia fiction Biden administration, stakeholders to host interagency event on economic equity Black Caucus pushes for priorities in final deal MORE said Friday as she toured an Israeli Air Force Base.

"There can be no doubt whatsoever: America's commitment to Israel's security is unwavering and ironclad," she added.


Rice has looked to calm Israeli concerns over defense during her trip, pledging to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday that the U.S. was committed to preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.

Netanyahu has repeatedly criticized the Obama administration's willingness to offer Tehran limited sanctions relief as negotiators attempt to strike a deal to end Iran's nuclear weapons program.

During her visit, Rice heralded nearly $900 million in U.S. investment for Israel's Iron Dome missile defense system, and vowed to "fund additional batteries that will protect more Israeli communities, military bases, and critical infrastructure from rocket and mortar attacks."

The president’s top national security adviser also said the two countries would continue joint research and military training operations.

"We remain deeply committed to Israel's qualitative military edge, and this impressive facility and all the work being done here is a wonderful example of that enduring partnership," Rice said at the air base.

Earlier this year, the U.S. and Israel signed an agreement under which Washington agreed to invest half a billion dollars in the Iron Dome defense system.

Rice, taking her first trip to Israel since being appointed National Security Adviser, is also likely looking to gauge whether the U.S. should attempt to salvage peace talks between the Israelis and Palestinians.

A nine-month negotiating session brokered by Secretary of State John Kerry collapsed earlier this spring.

"The American people care deeply about the people of Israel," Rice said Friday. "We admire your commitment to advancing the values of a free and open society, while facing the uncertainties of living in a very challenging neighborhood."