Peres Praises U.S. Support for Israel Following Ya'alon Row

Defense Minister's derogatory remarks about Secretary Kerry led to a short-lived diplomatic incident between the two countries.

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President Shimon Peres lauded America's support for Israel on Wednesday, in what appeared to be a subtle rebuke to Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon for his remarks about U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry the previous day.

"We should be thankful that they support us militarily and diplomatically," Peres said at a conference on U.S.-Israel relations at the National Defense Institute. "Without the American veto, we would have no standing at the United Nations."

Ya'alon apologized on Tuesday night for remarks in which he characterized Kerry as "messianic and obsessive" and said that he hoped Kerry would "get a Nobel Prize and leaves us alone."

The remarks sparked a furious response from the U.S., with a State Department spokesperson saying that they were "offensive and inappropriate, especially given all that the U.S. is doing to support Israel's security needs."

Another senior administration official said: "We expect the Prime Minister to put this right by publicly expressing his disagreement with the statements against Secretary Kerry, the negotiations with the Palestinians and Kerry's commitment to Israel's security."

After a two-hour meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday night, Ya'alon issued an apology, saying that "the defense minister did not intend to insult the secretary and he apologizes if the secretary was hurt by the remarks attributed to the defense minister."

Kerry responded to Ya'alon's remarks on Wednesday, saying that he did not intend to let "one set of comments undermine peace efforts."

President Shimon Peres (right) with U.S. Vice-President Joe Biden.Credit: Lior Mizrachi

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