U.S.-Israel alliance has become ‘even stronger,’ Netanyahu tells Cabinet

Marcy Oster

JERUSALEM (JTA) — The alliance between Israel and the United States has become “even stronger,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.

Netanyahu made the remarks on Sunday during the regular weekly Cabinet meeting, his first meeting with government ministers since returning on Friday from meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump, his administration, and members of Congress in Washington D.C.

“It has become stronger for two reasons,” Netanyahu said. “First of all, there is a personal connection of many years between President Trump and myself, and it is important. But it is even more important due to the second thing that has become stronger and this is the common view about the dangers and opportunities in the Middle East. The two of us see eye to eye on the main – and growing – threat from Iran and the need to stand against Iranian aggression in the various spheres.”

Netanyahu reiterated that he and Trump “see the possibility of trying to provide a basis for the growing regional interests that are forming between Israel, the U.S. and countries of the region both to rebuff Iran and to develop other opportunities and normalization. In the end we hope to achieve peace.” He called it a “fundamental change.”

Netanyahu said he and Trump agreed to create teams to upgrade relations between Israel and the US is several areas including security, intelligence, cyber, technology and economics. Another, new, team will address West Bank settlement.

Netanyahu was scheduled to leave on Sunday for a trip to Singapore and Australia, the first visit by an Israeli prime minister to both countries. He said he would work to “strengthen security, economic and other ties” with the countries.