Top Israeli official: U.S.-Israel relations in ‘crisis’

Relations between the allies are reportedly in a 'crisis' following stingy remarks made by Israeli defense chief Moashe Yaalon. (File photo: Reuters)

A top Israeli official admitted Saturday that a “crisis” exists in relations between his country and the United States, the Associated Press reported.

Finance Minister Yair Lapid’s comments came a day after U.S. officials said the Obama administration refused Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon’s requests to meet several top national security aides.

Read also: White House gives Israel defense minister the cold shoulder

The White House and the State Department rejected Yaalon’s request for an audience with Vice President Joe Biden, National Security Adviser Susan Rice and Secretary of State John Kerry on his five-day trip to the United States.

Members of the Obama administration are still peeved by remarks Yaalon made about Kerry's Middle East peace efforts and nuclear negotiations with Iran.

Lapid said "there is a crisis with the United States" and added that the relationship "must be managed respectfully and responsibly."

Past fiery remarks

“Given some of his comments in the recent past, it should come as no surprise that he was denied some meetings,” a senior U.S. official was quoted in Israeli newspaper the Haaretz as saying.

Yaalon’s visit was supposed to mend deteriorating relations with the Obama administration.

While in Washington, he claimed the spat between him and Kerry was over, telling the Washington Post they “overcame that.”

A series of statements contributed to the animosity between Yaalon and senior White House officials.

In January, Yaalon described Kerry as “obsessive and messianic” while speaking about the U.S. Secretary of State’s efforts to resume Palestinian-Israeli peace talks.

Although the Israeli defense chief issued an apology co-authored with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the statement was rejected by the U.S. government as inadequate.

Then in March, the defense minister made another fiery remark in a closed conference in which he criticized American foreign policy towards Iran.

Yaalon said President Barack Obama was avoiding taking action against Iran, deferring the task to his successor.

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:43 - GMT 06:43
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