Calling Israel’s self-defense capabilities and its qualitative military edge “central to both Israel and U.S. security interests,” Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced tonight that Israel will buy six V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft for its air force.
Hagel made the announcement during his keynote address at the 1200th annual Anti-Defamation League meeting in New York.
“Israel will get six V-22s out of the next order to go on the assembly line, and they will be compatible with other [Israeli defense force] capabilities,” he said. “The Israeli and American defense relationship is stronger than ever.”
With Afghanistan — the second of America’s two longest wars — winding down, Hagel said, “we continue to face a complicated and volatile world. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the Middle East, where the United States and our allies are facing an unprecedented set of complex challenges.”
For Israel, the secretary noted, progress with one neighbor tends to bring new threats from other directions. “There are no margins for Israel,” he said.
One challenge that threatens U.S. and Israeli security interests is preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, Hagel said.
“Iran is a state sponsor of terror, responsible for spreading hatred and extremism throughout the region,” the secretary said. “But foreign policy is not a zero-sum game. If we can find ways to resolve disputes peacefully, we are wise to explore them.”
Ridding the world of hatred takes more than just work, imagination and songs, Hagel told his audience; it also demands commitment, sacrifice, and courage.
“It demands that we must continue to march our armies of tolerance, equality, and justice around the globe.” Hagel said. “And it demands that we remember the timeless questions of Rabbi Hillel: ‘If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If I am only for myself, what am I? And if not now, when?’”