Israel's Barak praises Obama security cooperation
Published Tuesday, July 31, 2012
Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak praised US security cooperation under President Barack Obama as the best of any US administration in recent memory.
In an interview with CNN aired here Monday, Barak said Israel and the United States had their differences but the security relationship between the two countries is "extremely good, extremely deep and profound."
While US support for Israel has been strong on both sides of the aisle, he said, "this administration, under President Obama, is doing in regard to our security more than anything I can remember in the past."
"In terms of the support for our security, the cooperation of our intelligence, the sharing of sorts in a very open way. Even when there are differences," he said.
Barak's comments came after a high profile visit to Israel by Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney who seeks to portray Obama as soft on Iran.
They also contrast with the tension on display in the past between Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Israel plays a major factor in US presidential elections, as both Democrats and Republicans compete for the powerful endorsement of the pro-Israel lobby in Washington.
Despite Jewish Americans only making up 2 percent of the population, the power of the pro-Israel lobby ensures continued, unwavering US support for Israel, even at the expense of US interests.
The US still provides $3 billion in annual aid to Israel – the largest recipient of US aid – despite an ailing economy and Israel's appalling human rights record.