Defense Secretary Jim Mattis today met with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin in Jerusalem, where the secretary highlighted America’s strong bilateral ties with Israel and its commitment to Israel’s security.

The United States wants to make its relationship with Israel “the strongest ever,” said Mattis, who added the U.S. intends to work with allies in the region and elsewhere to support Israel’s security.

U.S. Security Commitment to Israel

“We are committed to Israel’s defense. We support Israel’s internal security and Israel’s external security,” the secretary said.

Israel faces two fundamental threats, Mattis explained, one from terrorism and the other from Iran.

“We cannot allow those threats to break apart the human connections between those of us who are committed to peace and prosperity and tolerance for each other,” he said.

The United States wants to work with Israel and other like-minded nations, he said.

Working Together

“We’re not alone in how we look at terrorists. We’re not alone how we look at Iran’s problems, so it’s time for us to all work together,” the secretary said.

“But certainly the enduring relationship with Israel will be stronger every day,” he added.

Mattis noted Israel’s upcoming Holocaust Remembrance Day, and offered a cautionary thought.

“If good people don’t band together and work together across all religious, and all ethnic lines,” he said, “then bad people can dominate.”

The United States will not allow that to happen, Mattis said.