The US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta
Source: Press TV
The United States has once again reiterated its “unshakable commitment to Israel's security” during meetings between top US officials and Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak in Washington.
The newly appointed US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has stressed that Washington is strongly committed to military relations with Tel Aviv, AFP quoted Pentagon spokesman George Little as saying on Thursday.
Panetta also stated that the US is dedicated to “ensuring that Israel maintains its qualitative military edge."
Israel receives about $3 billion from the US in direct foreign assistance each year, which is roughly one-fifth of America's foreign aid budget.
This is the first time the two officials have met since the former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) director was installed in his new post as defense secretary.
Panetta worked closely with Israeli intelligence when he was in charge of the CIA.
The United States gives Israel access to intelligence that it denies its NATO allies and has turned a blind eye towards Israel's acquisition of nuclear weapons, reports say.
This is while according to the US General Accounting Office, Tel Aviv "conducts the most aggressive espionage operations against the US of any ally."
During his visit, Barak also had a separate meeting with the US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.