Israeli Defense Chief Meets Trump Aides Bolton, Kushner During White House Visit

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Lieberman meeting with Bolton, April 26, 2018.
Lieberman meeting with Bolton, April 26, 2018.Credit: Ariel Hermoni / Defense Ministry

Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman visited the White House on Thursday and met with U.S. President Donald Trump’s national security adviser, John Bolton, and with Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and a senior adviser to the president.

The meeting with Kushner was also attended by Trump’s envoy to the Middle East, Jason Greenblatt. The meetings dealt with the situation in Syria, Iran and Lebanon, a statement said.

“I’m glad that the Americans and us see eye to eye when it comes to the Middle East and [I] thank the administration for its support of Israel,” Lieberman said in a statement following the meetings. “

Later Thursday, Lieberman met with Defense Secretary James Mattis and the U.S. army chief of staff at the Pentagon and discussed, among other things, Iran's attempts to establish its presence in Syria.

At the start of the meeting, Lieberman expressed appreciation for Israel's close ties to the U.S. and Trump's decision to move the embassy to Jerusalem.

"Currently, the big threat to stability in the Middle East is, and not limited to, Iran's attempt to destalize Iraq, Yemen, Lebanon and Syria, and of course Iran's nuclear ambitions. I hope that we will translate the results of today's meeting into significant steps on the ground," Lieberman told Mattis.  

Lieberman earlier threatened Iran, a rhetorical tactic often used by Bolton, during an interview with a Saudi website and asserted that if the Islamic regime attacks Tel Aviv, Israel "will strike Tehran and destroy every Iranian military site that threatens Israel in Syria, whatever the price."

Speaking with Elaph, which runs interviews with Israeli officials for the Arab speaking world, Lieberman said the regime in Iran is nearing its last days.

"Israel doesn't want war ... but if Iran attacks Tel Aviv, we will hit Tehran," Lieberman told the Arabic-language, Saudi-owned news website, which is based in London.

Lieberman and Trump envoy Jason Greenblatt, April 26, 2018.Credit: Ariel Hermoni / Defense Ministry

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