U.S. Still Waiting For Yaalon Apology

WASHINGTON (Reuters/Hamodia) -

The United States is still waiting for an apology from Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon for his disparagement of U.S. foreign policy in a speech last week.

“We are disappointed with the lack of an apology for Defense Minister Yaalon’s comments,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told a daily briefing. “His comments don’t reflect the true nature of our relationship with Israel,” she added.

In a lecture at Tel Aviv University, Yaalon said Israel could not rely on its main ally to take the lead in confronting Iran over its nuclear program. He also pointed at the Ukraine crisis as an example of Washington “showing weakness.”

Although Yaalon issued a statement voicing regret at any offense he may have caused, he has not apologized nor retracted his accusations.

Asked whether the United States had sought an apology from Yaalon, Psaki said both Kerry and U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel had “clearly expressed their displeasure with the comments and an apology would be a natural next step in response to that.”

Meanwhile, Economy Minister Naftali Bennett came out in defense of Yaalon, characterizing Washington’s criticism of him as “unnecessary and misguided.”

Yaalon “is a very good defense minister, even if his positions are not accepted by commentators and others. That is a good thing,” Bennett said.