US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta thanked Defense Minister Ehud Barak for his efforts in building cooperation between Jerusalem and Washington during a meeting between the two at the Pentagon on Wednesday.
The Department of Defense said in a statement that Panetta reiterated the strong US commitment to Israel’s security and the strong US-Israel defense relationship.
Panetta and Barak discussed a range of issues and expressed their interest in ensuring continued cooperation on many important regional issues, particularly Syria, Iran, and Gaza.
Panetta also thanked Barak for his friendship. According to the statement this was the 11th time that the two have met since Panetta took office.
It may also be the last time the two meet in an official capacity.
Barak is set to leave office after elections later this month, ending a nearly seven-year stint as Israel’s defense chief. Panetta will also be replaced in the coming months, likely by former senator Chuck Hagel, whom some critics have accused of being antagonistic toward Israel.