Secretary Carter: "For Israel, the current regional situation presents daily threats to the state, its economy, and its democracy. As we have since its founding, the United States stands with Israel, and we always will."
Defense Secretary Ash Carter and Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon held a joint news conference at the Pentagon following two days of discussions:
"My dear friend, Secretary Ashton Carter,
Over the past few days, I have had the pleasure of visiting the United States as your guest, but I didn’t need this time here to be reminded of the deep friendship between us; a friendship that mirrors the special relationship – unprecedented in scope – between the United States and Israel. Between the defense establishments of our two countries. Between our armed forces and between our intelligence agencies.
I’ve said it a few times during this visit, and I’ll say it again – Israel has no greater friend than the United States of America. The United States is our strategic ally and its contribution to us is a cornerstone of our national security. We share democratic values and mutual interests, and there is not one difference of opinions that can undermine our strong relationship.
I’d like to take this opportunity to thank you again for all that you do and for your admirable commitment to strengthening Israel’s security. I’d also like to ask you to convey my personal appreciation and that of the Israeli people to President Obama – who leads this policy and is deeply committed to Israel’s security – and to the United States government and Congress, for their unparalleled cooperation and commitment to Israel.
During my visit here, we’ve discussed recent developments in the Middle East. These are especially turbulent years in our region – with states collapse and being replaced by various entities and terror organizations, many affiliated with global Jihad and the Islamic State, one fighting against the other, glorifying death and destruction and challenging the entire US-led Western world.
Some of these terror entities are funded, armed and trained by Iran – who, despite the nuclear agreement, continues to view the America as the Great Satan, and Israel as the small Satan. Iran extends its reach of terror to every part of the Middle East, Europe, America, the Far East – in effect, to every place they can challenge the West and spread the Islamic revolution.
Iran is invested in over its head in the fighting in Syria and in defending the murderous regime of Bashar Assad. This is also likely to position Hezbollah, operating under Iran’s support and directive, on our north-eastern border from where, in addition to Lebanon, it can conduct even more terror operations.
In general, I will say that Iran makes non-stop attempts at harming Israel and its citizens by means of terror along our borders, from north to south and even across oceans. Iran also challenges US interests in the Middle East both directly and by undermining pro-Western Sunni regimes.
In recent weeks, Israel has experienced a wave of Palestinian terror attacks, mostly stemming from harsh incitement against Israel, yet partially resulting from efforts by Iran and its proxies to ignite the area and partially from the influence of Islamic Jihad. This terror targets not only Israel, but the entire US-led Western world. And we are determined to combat it with resilience and determination. We will prevail. We have no other alternative. The free world has no other alternative, but to prevail.
These facts on the ground require us to keep Israel militarily strong and maintain the Israel Defense Forces’ ability to defend our nation against any enemy, any time and any place, along our borders and far beyond.
This is a joint challenge to our nations, the United States and Israel, and in our conversations here we discussed further strengthening ties between our defense establishments and the ways to aid the IDF in maintaining its strategic qualitative military edge in the Middle East.
In recent weeks, teams from the United States and Israel began discussing issues pertaining to strengthening the IDF. This matter was also discussed during my visit here, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will also address this matter in his upcoming visit here as a guest of President Obama.
I must add, following conversations between us in recent days, that I am deeply grateful for your friendship and for your commitment to enabling Israel to continue defending itself and overcoming the many security challenges we face. Thank you for your generous hospitality, and thank you for all you do for us."