JERUSALEM, April 23 (UPI) -- U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel referred to Israel as a model for the world and said U.S.-Israeli ties are stronger than ever.
Hagel and Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu conducted a news conference Tuesday in Jerusalem, Ynetnews reported.
Netanyahu said Israel "appreciates deeply the military and security support it enjoys from the United States."
"It reflects a very deep alliance between our two countries and the defense of our common interests and values," he said.
Netanyahu warned those values were "challenged" by Iran arming terrorist groups and Tehran's drive toward acquiring nuclear weapons.
Hagel said, "Israel is a model for the world," adding the relationship between Israel and the United States "is as strong as it's ever been."
"It is based on common values and respect for others," Hagel said.
"The region is not getting any less complicated; this is a difficult and dangerous time. This is a time when friends and allies must remain closer than ever. I'm committed to continue to strengthen this relationship and secure this relationship."