Israel and many countries in the region and the world welcome the strategic change in American foreign policy ushered in by US President Donald Trump, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Friday.
Netanyahu, speaking in his office before a meeting with visiting US Secretary of Defense James Mattis, said that Israel senses “a great change in the direction of American policy.”
He said that this has been made clear by Mattis’ “clear and forthright words” about Iran, which “follows very strong and forthright words on the part of President Trump, and very forthright deeds against the use of chemical weapons by Iran’s proxy, Syria.”
This change, Netanyahu said, “has been appreciated around the world and in our region. I think this is a welcome change, a strategic change of American leadership and American policy.”
The prime minister said that Israel and the US share common values and also common dangers. He said the common dangers were “the twin threats of militant Islam” embodied in the Shi’a extremists led by Iran, and the Sunni extremists led by Islamic State.
Netanyahu said that the two countries are committed to thwarting the dangers and seizing the common opportunities that have emerged thanks to a commonality of interests with some of Israel’s Arab neighbors.
Mattis, on his first visit as secretary of defense, responded to Netanyahu: “I think it’s important that we remind ourselves that if good people don’t band together then bad people can do a lot of damage in this world. And we’re committed to stopping that and doing whatever it takes to pass on peace and freedom to the next generation.”