Defense Minister Gantz Speaks With US Counterpart Esper by Phone

The two officials discussed the COVID-19 crisis, regional security and bilateral ties, among other topics

Defense Minister Benny Gantz. Photo: AP

Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz on June 11 spoke over the phone with US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, marking the first official conversation between the two senior officials since Gantz assumed the post last month.   

At the beginning of their conversation, Esper congratulated Gantz on his leadership role in the newly formed Israeli government, the Defense Ministry said in a statement.   
"The two discussed both governments' efforts to address the novel coronavirus and the need to deter adversaries that may seek to exploit global attention to the pandemic.  They reviewed shared interests on regional security concerns, with an emphasis on the necessity to halt the Iranian threat, as well as opportunities to build a more stable and prosperous Middle East," the statement said. 

"Minister Gantz highlighted the strategic and steadfast defense relationship between the two nations, pledged to strengthen the U.S.-Israel defense partnership and lauded the countries’ ironclad military-to-military cooperation, which he has supported through his previous service as Chief of Staff of the Israeli Defense Forces and Defense Attache to the United States."  

Gantz expressed appreciation for the US commitment to Israel’s qualitative military edge and intent to consolidate Israel’s defense modernization and procurement plans over the coming weeks, the ministry said. Secretary Esper and Minister Gantz also committed to meeting in person at the earliest opportunity.