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Pentagon seeks to deepen military ties with Israel despite judicial overhaul

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin urged his Israeli counterpart to "address extremist settler violence against Palestinian civilians," but said Washington's support was unwavering.
Israeli Minister of Defence Yoav Gallant (R) and US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin shake hands after delivering a statement to the press at the Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) headquarters near the Ben Gurion airport in Tel Aviv, on March 9, 2023. - Austin, on a visit to Israel, expressed concerns on March 9 about Jewish settler violence against Palestinians and warned against acts that could trigger more insecurity. (Photo by GIL COHEN-MAGEN / AFP) (Photo by GIL COHEN-MAGEN/AFP via Getty Images)

The Biden administration’s disapproval of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s moves to weaken Israel’s judiciary won’t inhibit military ties, American officials reaffirmed Tuesday.

A narrow majority of 64 lawmakers in Israel's Knesset voted on Monday to advance the measure to curb the power of Israel’s Supreme Court, bucking repeated entreaties by the US not to move ahead. 

Despite the decision, Washington’s support for Israel as a regional military power and counterweight to Iran is not in question, officials suggested following the vote. 

“There is not going to be any cut or stoppage of military aid,” State Department spokesperson Vedant Patel clarified to reporters Tuesday. “That’s because our commitment to Israel and our commitment to Israel’s security is ironclad.” 

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