US War Secretary Jim Mattis visited the "Israeli" entity Friday for talks expected to focus on Iran, Syria and the two countries' close strategic relations despite recent tensions with Barack Obama's administration.
Mattis held talks with War Minister Avigdor Lieberman Friday morning, to be followed by meetings with "Israeli" Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the entity's President Reuven Rivlin.
The "Israeli" entity and the US have long had close strategic ties, with Washington providing the entity more than $3 billion per year in military aid and President Donald Trump pledging unstinting support for the country.
Despite tensions over "Israeli" settlement building, Obama's administration signed a new agreement with the entity before he left office increasing the amount to $3.8 billion for a 10-year period beginning in 2018.
Mattis hopes to hear directly from "Israeli" leaders on their concerns and what they expect from the Trump administration, a US war official said.
Iran's influence is at the top of the list for the "Israeli" regime, a worry shared by the United States.
The "Israeli" entity is closely watching Iran's presence in neighboring Syria, where it is backing the Syrian government.
The entity had acknowledged carrying out air strikes in Syria to stop what it alleged are deliveries of advanced weapons to Hezbollah.
Last month, in the most serious incident between the two countries since the Syria conflict began, "Israeli" warplanes struck several targets there, drawing retaliatory missile fire.
The "Israeli" entity was also among the first countries to salute Trump for a recent US strike on a Syrian airbase over an alleged chemical attack on a militant-occupied town.
Testy relations between Obama and Netanyahu reached a low point over a 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers, led by Washington.
Obama pushed hard for the agreement, but Netanyahu fiercely opposed it, arguing it will not prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons and that the lifting of sanctions would allow it to support proxy groups in the region.
On Tuesday, Trump ordered a review of the deal to be led by his National Security Council, although the State Department admits Iran had so far stuck to its side of the bargain.
In a further sign of close relations, the "Israeli" is to receive three more F-35 stealth fighter jets Sunday, adding to two which arrived in December.
They are among 50 that the entity had agreed to buy from US aerospace giant Lockheed Martin.
Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team