President Obama and the American Jewish Community

Secretary of Defense Hagel Addresses the Jewish Community

On October 31, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel addressed the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) at its National Centennial Commission meeting in New York.

In his keynote remarks at the gala dinner, Secretary Hagel emphasized that the Defense Department shares with ADL a strong commitment to securing our nation and to combatting hatred and bigotry – these twin goals, he emphasized, are interconnected. 

Secretary Hagel discussed the effort by DoD to provide equal benefits to all eligible spouses, regardless of sexual orientation.  He condemned efforts by some state National Guards to deny ID cards to same-sex spouses, and announced that he was ordering the National Guard to take action immediately to fix the problem. 

Secretary Hagel Addresses the Jewish Commnunity

Secretary Delivers Keynote at 100th annual Anti-Defamation League meeting in New York. October 31, 2013. (by DOD photo by Erin A. Kirk-Cuomo)

In his address, Secretary Hagel also discussed United States’ commitment to Israel’s security.   Declaring that “[t]he Israeli and American defense relationship is stronger than ever,” Secretary Hagel announced that the Department of Defense is providing Israel with six new V-22 Ospreys.  These are tilt-rotor aircrafts that will significantly strengthen the range and effectiveness of Israeli special forces.

Finally, Secretary Hagel discussed the unprecedented challenges in the Middle East that demand an unprecedented level of cooperation between the United States and Israel.  These challenges include both nations’ shared interest in preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.  By testing Iran’s intentions to pursue a diplomatic solution, Secretary Hagel echoed President Obama, noting that the United States remains “clear-eyed” about the realities and emphasizing that “words are not enough.  Action must match words.”

Click here to watch Secretary Hagel’s remarks.

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