Obama says Israel’s security still ‘top priority’ for US

Published November 9th, 2015 - 04:41 GMT

Israel's security remains a top priority of the Obama administration amid a deteriorating security landscape across the Middle East, the president said on Monday, sitting alongside Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the Oval Office.

Meeting with the Israeli premier for the sixteenth time since taking office in 2009, and for the first time since the successful brokerage of a landmark nuclear deal with Iran over the summer, President Obama said the focus of their discussion would be a future US defense package that will last a decade.

"The security of Israel remains a top priority," Obama said.

While the president referenced his well-known disagreement with Netanyahu over that nuclear deal, he said that both stood together in their commitment to preventing Iran from ever acquiring nuclear weapons. And Netanyahu took the opportunity to thank Obama for his commitment to Israel's security.

The prime minister assured Obama that Israel has not given up its hope for peace, saying that he still wishes to see "two states for two peoples, a demilitarized Palestinian state that recognizes a Jewish state."

The Israeli government hopes to secure an increase in US aid from the current $3 billion a year to $5 billion.

In the Oval meeting alongside the two premiers was Vice President Joe Biden, the president's national security advisor Susan Rice and the ambassadors from both nations, Ron Dermer and Dan Shapiro.

By Michael Wilner

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