Israeli Defense Minister Calls for US Cooperation Against Iran and its Proxies, Warning of Potential Hezbollah War

During a visit to the Pentagon on Tuesday, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant urged the U.S. to continue cooperating with Israel in defense against Iran and its proxies, following reports that the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff indicated the U.S. may not be able to provide the same level of support to Israel in a broader war with Hezbollah as it did during the April missile and drone attacks from Iran.

“The President, the Administration, and you, Mr. Secretary, have been with us since day one,” Gallant said, according to a release from his office, “This includes working together to defend Israel, against a massive attack, by Iran and its proxies.”

“Today, we are at a crossroads that will impact the entire Middle East,” Gallant continued.  “I am here to discuss the ways to achieve our common goals – ensuring the security of the State of Israel and projecting the powerful ties between our countries.”

Israeli officials last week warned about a potential war with Hezbollah, claiming the two forces were on the “brink.” An IDF spokesman blamed “Hezbollah’s aggression” for driving the two forces to such a desperate place. 

Both Gallant and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have said that Israel is “committed to the diplomatic process,” but Netanyahu insisted that any deal could only occur “on our terms.” 

“We will do what is necessary,” Netanyahu said. “I can assure the citizens of Israel that if we are required to take on this challenge, we will do it. We are ready for every scenario, and we are also preparing for it.”   

But a U.S. official this week warned the U.S. is unlikely to help Israel in an all-out conflict against Hezbollah amid fears that Iran “would be more inclined to support Hezbollah” if the U.S. got involved. 

The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, also raised concerns that any conflict that bled into Lebanon would ultimately trigger a wider conflict and endanger U.S. forces.

“Think about the second order of effect of any type of operation into Lebanon, and how that might play out and how it impacts not just the region, but how it impacts our forces in regions as well,” the official reportedly said.

Gallant in his statement Tuesday stressed that Iran is “the greatest threat to the future of the world… and time is running out.” 

“Now is the time to materialize the commitment of American Administrations over the years — the promise to prevent Iran from possessing nuclear weapons,” Gallant said. “Above all, we must discuss our extraordinary ties: Projecting power, together; discussing areas of disagreement as friends do; and standing strong together in the face of attacks – from missile attacks, to diplomatic attacks on the global stage.”

The U.S. and Israel have agreed to a meeting of the strategic consultative group on Iran in mid-July, where the two sides will assess their strategy regarding Tehran, Axios reporter Barak Ravid wrote on social media platform X. 

THE Associated Press contributed to this article.