US Defense Secretary due in Israel on Sunday
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin will be the first top-ranking official of the Biden administration to visit Israel. Due on Sunday with a party of 50 officers and officials. He will meet the prime minister and the defense and foreign ministers, following an attack attributed to Israel on an Iranian intelligence vessel on the Red Sea – for which Tehran threatens a reprisal – and a raid on Syrian military depots near Damascus holding Iranian arms shipments. Last Tuesday also saw a diplomatic push in Vienna brokered by the EU to restart US-Iranian nuclear dialogue. This subject is a bone of contention between the Biden administration and Israel. Austin’s meetings with Israel’s leaders will cover these developments and future steps in the light of the close strategic and military alliance between the two countries.