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SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Hello, everyone.  It’s a real pleasure to welcome Defense Minister Gantz to the State Department.  We had an opportunity to spend some time together in Israel just a week or so ago.  Very happy today to have the opportunity to pursue that conversation, to talk about the United States enduring commitment to Israel security, to talk about some of the needs that Israel has in that regard; also to talk about the work that needs to be done to move forward on humanitarian assistance to and reconstruction for Gaza and for the Palestinians living there and to look across the board at the many issues that we have on our agenda.

So Benny, welcome.  It’s very good to have you here.

DEFENSE MINISTER GANTZ:  Thank you very much.  It’s a real pleasure to be here and reconvey Israel’s appreciation for the administration, for the President, for yourself, for the ongoing support, which is very important for us in our challenging area.  I’m looking forward to discuss, as we have discussed before, the challenges that we have with Iran, with the Palestinians.  As far as Gaza concerned, we do look for stability and prosperity for everybody.  And as defense minister, I think the combination between moving forward with construction and making sure that everything stays secure – it’s very important for me.  So thank you very much for your time, and I’m looking forward for the discussion. 

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Thank you.  Thanks, everyone. 

U.S. Department of State

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