(Israel Hayom/Exclusive to JNS.org) U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is set to visit
Israel later this month for the first time since taking office, Army Radio reported.
Hagel, who was confirmed in a historically
close 58-41 vote by the Senate and during the confirmation process came under
fire for both his record and statements on Israel, will reportedly arrive in
Israel on April 21.
Hagel discussed the planned visit with his Israeli
counterpart, Defense Minister Moshe (Bogie) Ya’alon, during a recent telephone
The nuclear program of Iran is expected to be
the focus of the talks Hagel will hold with Israeli officials during his visit.
In his confirmation hearing before the Senate
on Jan. 31, Hagel mistakenly expressed support for a U.S. policy of
“containment” in dealing with the Iranian nuclear threat.
There has been a recent flurry of visits to
Israel by top U.S. government officials. Barack Obama made his first visit as
president to Israel in March, and was accompanied by U.S. Secretary of State
John Kerry, who returned to Israel on Sunday for another visit and is trying to
restart the stalled Israel-Palestinian peace process.