WASHINGTON, March 19 (Xinhua) -- U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has protested to Israel over its Defense Minister Moshe Ya' alon's criticism of the Obama administration for being weak in dealing with Iran's nuclear issue and Ukraine's crisis, the State Department said Wednesday.
Kerry spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a phone call Wednesday morning and lodged the protest about these comments, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told a news briefing.
Ya'alon's remarks, which expressed doubt about Washington's commitment to Israel's security, "were not constructive" and " completely inconsistent" with the U.S.-Israeli security relationship, Psaki said. "We maintain -- the United States maintains an unshakable commitment to Israel's security," she noted.
Ya'alon, speaking at the Tel Aviv University on Monday, said Israel cannot rely on the U.S. to confront Iran over its nuclear program, citing Washington's "weakness" shown in the recent Ukraine crisis,
Washington has shied away from taking any military actions after Russia's recent annexation of Crimea, a Ukraine autonomous region, resorting to sanctions.
Israel is very skeptical about the current U.S. push to diplomatically resolve Iranian nuclear crisis through international peace talks, dismissing Iran's participation in the talks as a plot to rid itself of the crippling economic sanctions imposed by the U.S.-led Western countries.
Earlier in January, Ya'alon also criticized Kerry for being " obsessive and messianic" in seeking an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal, adding he hoped Kerry "gets a Nobel Prize and leaves us alone."
Psaki noted that U.S. President Barack Obama "has provided an all-time high level of security assistance to Israel," including missile defense funding even during times of budget uncertainty, to provide Israel with unprecedented capabilities and options that help Israel better deal with regional threats and challenges.
"So it is certainly confusing to us why Defense Minister Ya' alon would continue his pattern of making comments that don't accurately represent the scope of our close partnership on a range of security issues and on the enduring partnership between the United States and Israel," she said.
Psaki refused to disclose what was Netanyahu's response to Kerry's protest, but adding that the Israeli leader recognizes and supports the strong security ties between the two traditional allies.
"And Prime Minister Netanyahu himself has said that the breadth of our security cooperation is unprecedented," Psaki said.
In an attempt to downplay the latest feud with Israel, Psaki said the U.S. is "ready to move forward and keep talking about the (Israeli-Palestinian) peace process."