During his three-day visit to the United States, Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon has been meeting with his counterpart, U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter, to work out a framework for providing Israel with the military assistance it needs to face regional challenges in the coming years, especially in view of the Iran nuclear deal.
Carter and Yaalon visited the Naval Air Station in Maryland on Wednesday for a demonstration of the F-35 joint strike fighter. The United States has said it will deliver the F-35 to Israel next year, making it the only country in the Middle East to have the top-flight aircraft.
Israel faces a wide variety of threats ranging from Islamic terrorists’ missiles and rockets to nuclear attack, Yaalon said.
Carter emphasized the importance of the U.S.-Israeli security relationship and the United States’ commitment to maintaining close ties.
Yaalon ticked off a number of threats that he said Israel has faced, including from Iraq under Saddam Hussein, Bashar al-Assad’s Syria, and Iran.
“The threat has been changed dramatically from conventional type warfare to what might be called super-conventional — weapons of mass destruction, or sub-conventional like terror, rockets and missiles,” Yaalon said.
The Israeli defense minister thanked his hosts for the “special relationship that we have … we appreciate the readiness and the time that is devoted to helping us to maintain our capabilities on the highest level.”