Israel’s Defense Minister Ehud Barak met Thursday with his US counterpart Leon Panetta at the Pentagon. During the meeting Barak thanked President Barack Obama and the American government for supporting Israel’s Iron Dome short range rocket-defense system.

“The level of security cooperation between the United States and Israel has never been stronger,” said Panetta.  “I was pleased to inform Minister Barak that the president supports Israel’s Iron Dome system and directed me to fill the $70 million in assistance for Iron Dome that Minister Barak indicated to me Israel needs this fiscal year.”

“My goal is to ensure Israel has the funding it needs each year to produce these batteries that can protect its citizens,” said Panetta. “This is part of our rock solid commitment to Israel’s security and comes on top of approximately $3 billion in annual security assistance for Israel.”

“The US has already provided $205 million in assistance for that system [Iron Dome], and operational batteries have already proven effective in defending against rocket attacks on Israel earlier this year,” Panetta added.

Barak is scheduled to meet with other Washington officials, including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Republican Senator John McCain