"We are disappointed with the lack of an apology from Defense
Minister Yaalon's comments," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki
told a daily briefing. "His comments don't reflect the true nature
of our relationship with Israel," she added.
In a lecture at Tel Aviv University, Yaalon said Israel could not
rely on its main ally to take the lead in confronting Iran over its
nuclear program. He also pointed at the Ukraine crisis as an example
of Washington "showing weakness.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry later called Israeli Prime
Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to protest Yaalon's comments, which come
at a time that the United States is trying to broker a peace
agreement between the Israelis and Palestinians.
While Yaalon has issued a statement voicing regret at any offence he
may have caused, he has not apologized nor retracted his
It is the second time that Yaalon's comments have irked Washington.
In January he described Kerry's quest for Middle East peace as
messianic and obsessive.
[to top of second column]
Asked whether the United States had sought an apology from Yaalon,
Psaki said both Kerry and U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel had
"clearly expressed their displeasure with the comments and an
apology would be a natural next step in response to that."
She said there were concerns with the "pattern" of publicly
criticizing U.S. policies. Still, Psaki said the spat would not
undermine efforts to forge a peace agreement between Israelis and
(Reporting by Lesley Wroughton; editing by Lisa Shumaker)
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