Chuck Hagel and John Brennan
U.S. President Barack Obama's nominee for Secretary of Defense, former Senator Chuck Hagel, left, next to counterterrorism adviser John Brennan, the nominee for CIA Director, Washington, Jan. 7, 2013. Photo by AP
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Top Jewish organizational leaders met with Chuck Hagel, President Obama's defense secretary nominee, and Vice President Joe Biden.

A four-sentence statement Monday issued by the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations described the Jan. 18 meeting in Washington as "an important opportunity for a serious and thorough discussion of key issues of importance to all of us."

The statement, which also noted the presence at the meeting of the leaders of the Anti-Defamation League, the American Jewish Committee and the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, did not further elaborate.

The meeting came days after after Hagel, a former Republican senator from Nebraska, conferred with top Jewish Democrats and apologized for a 2006 comment in which he described the "Jewish lobby" as "intimidating" and reassured them that despite his past skepticism of some sanctions on Iran and wariness of a military strike to keep it from obtaining a nuclear weapon, he was now on board with President Obama's postures on those issues.

Hagel, in those conversations with Jewish Democrats, also said he was a strong supporter of the U.S.-Israel relationship although he did not withdraw past criticisms of Israel.