Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon was unstinting with his praise of outgoing U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on Monday in response to the news that Hagel is stepping down.
Ya’alon called Hagel a “true friend” of Israel, commenting that in recent years, his relationship with the defense secretary had been “very open and honest.”
The U.S. security establishment under his command, said Ya’alon, “is an example of uncompromising support and exchange of information.” Ya’alon also referred to the “extensive and valuable military assistance that the U.S. has provided Israel.”
He thanked Hagel “in the name of the government of Israel and on behalf of its citizens” for his “contribution to the empowerment of Israel and his friendship and willingness to help at any time.
“I wish him well and good luck in his future endeavors,” Ya’alon added.
Hagel handed his formal letter of resignation to President Barack Obama on Monday morning prior to a ceremony at the White House in which Obama told reporters that both men agreed it was an “appropriate” time for him to resign.