JERUSALEM — Iran is topping the agenda as the United State's top defense official visits Israel.
U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel discussed Iran's nuclear program with Israeli leaders and addressed Israel's biggest fear: a nuclear-armed Iran.
"I want to assure you of the United States' commitment to ensuring Iran does not get a nuclear weapon, and that America will do what we must to live up to that commitment," he said.
Iran says its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes, but Israel sees it as threat to the existence of the Jewish state.
With Hagel at his side, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed concern over the current nuclear talks between Iran and the world powers. He accused Iran of pretending to negotiate while building nuclear weapons and the missiles to deliver them.
"I think that as the talks with Iran continue, one thing must guide the international community, and that is: We must not let the ayatollahs win," he said. "We mustn't let the foremost terrorist state of our time, Iran, develop the capability to produce nuclear weapons."
Another subject of discussion was the troubled peace process with the Palestinians. U.S.-brokered negotiations collapsed last month after Israel failed to release Palestinian prisoners and the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank decided to form a unity government with the rival Islamic militant group Hamas that rules the Gaza Strip.
Netanyahu says that won't work. "Our Palestinian neighbors are moving ahead in a pact with Hamas. The United States has designated Hamas, rightly, as a terrorist organization, and obviously the Palestinians cannot have a pact with Hamas and peace with Israel."
Tensions are running high in the West Bank after the funeral for two Palestinian youths killed in a clash with Israeli troops. The shooting occurred on Thursday during violent protests marking the Nakba, or "catastrophe" of Israel's creation, 66 years ago.