"US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Sunday the United States and Israel see "exactly the same" threat from Iran, but differ on when it may reach the point of requiring US or Israeli military action.
Hagel used his first visit to Israel as Pentagon chief to highlight his view that Israel must decide for itself whether and when to pre-emptively attack its neighbor.
Hagel acknowledged that while Israel and the US share a commitment to ensuring that Iran does not acquire a nuclear weapon, there "may well be some differences" between the two allies on the question of when Iran's leaders might decide to go for a bomb.
"Israel will make the decision that Israel must make to protect itself, to defend itself," Hagel told reporters before arriving here on Sunday to begin a week-long tour of the Middle East."What a shame for those out there who hoped Hagel would immediately stab our closest ally in the Middle East in the back once he got into office.