US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis visited Israel today for talks expected to focus on Iran, Syria and the two countries’ close strategic relations despite recent tensions with Barack Obama’s adminstration.
Mattis held talks with Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman this morning, followed by meetings with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin.
Israel and the United States have long had close strategic ties, with Washington providing Israel more than 3 billion dollars per year in defence aid and President Donald Trump pledging unstinting support for the country.
Despite tensions over Israeli settlement building, Obama’s administration signed a new agreement with Israel before he left office increasing the amount to 3.8 billion dollars for a 10-year period beginning in 2018.
Mattis hopes to hear directly from Israeli leaders on their concerns and what they expect from the Trump administration.