Washington – Hagel Meets With Israeli Minister, Pledges Support

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    US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel greets Israeli Minister of Defense Ehud Barak as he arrives at the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, USA, 05 March 2013. Minister Barak is Secretary Hagel's first foriegn visitor after his tough battle for confirmation in the US Senate.  EPA/SHAWN THEWWashington – A defense official says Pentagon chief Chuck Hagel is promising Israel that he will work with Congress to ensure continued funding for its Iron Dome missile defense system. He met with Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak Tuesday, his first meeting with a foreign counterpart.

    Hagel’s bruising Senate confirmation hearings focused largely on what some considered his lukewarm support for Israel.

    Hagel was slammed by Republican-leaning outside groups who were incensed by his use of the term “Jewish lobby” to refer to pro-Israel groups. He has apologized and says he should have used another term.

    The defense official spoke on condition of anonymity because the conversation between Hagel and Barak was private.

    The two defense leaders also discussed the need for continue cooperation surrounding the ongoing violence in Syria.

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