Israel is latest stop on Mideast tour for US Defense Secretary Mattis


( U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis meets with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem Friday.

Secretary of Defense James Mattis. Credit: Monica King/U.S. Department of Defense.

Mattis’s first visit to the Jewish state in his capacity as defense secretary comes after his visits to Saudi Arabia and Egypt during a weeklong tour of the Middle East.

The stated purpose of Mattis’s tour is to “reaffirm key U.S. military alliances, engage with strategic partners in the Middle East and Africa, and discuss cooperative efforts to counter destabilizing activities and defeat extremist terror organizations,” the U.S. Department of Defense said.

During his visit, Mattis also meets with President Reuven Rivlin and Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, the latter whom Mattis has already met on two prior occasions this year.

In March, Lieberman called his American counterpart a true friend who is committed to Israel’s security, and told Mattis the U.S. is essential to the process of removing “obstacles to stability in the Middle East.” 

While in Israel Friday, Mattis will partake in a wreath-laying ceremony in Jerusalem at Israel’s Yad Vashem Holocaust remembrance center.

Posted on April 20, 2017 .