Ya’alon Praises Hagel As ‘True Friend’

YERUSHALAYIM -
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon walk past a Patriot missile battery as they arrive to address U.S. and Israeli soldiers after viewing Juniper Cobra 14 military exercise at Hatzor Israeli Air Force Base in Hatzor, Israel, May, 2014.  (AP Photo/Mandel Ngan, Pool)
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon walk past a Patriot missile battery as they arrive to address U.S. and Israeli soldiers after viewing Juniper Cobra 14 military exercise at Hatzor Israeli Air Force Base in Hatzor, Israel, May, 2014. (AP Photo/Mandel Ngan, Pool)

In response to the news of Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel’s departure, Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon called him a “true friend of Israel who helped us a great deal.”

Hagel and Ya’alon met about ten times over the last two years, and despite overt tensions between Ya’alon and others in the administration, a strong bond was formed with Hagel.

“Over the last two years the relationship between Chuck Hagel and myself has been open, genuine and very friendly, and characterizes the special relationship between the Israeli and American security establishments,” he said.

Ya’alon thanked Hagel “in the name of the Israeli government and the country’s citizens” for his contribution to strengthening Israel and for a “willingness to help at any time.”