Published : 2013-01-08 21:39
Updated : 2013-01-08 21:39
The foreign policy outlook of US President Barak Obama's nominee for defence secretary, Chuck Hagel, is "cause for concern" for Israel, parliament speaker Reuven Rivlin said on Tuesday.
"This concept of 'splendid isolation' which Hagel espouses changes US strategy in the world and accordingly it also affects Israel," Rivlin said in a statement.
"This outlook must give Israel cause for concern but not scare it," said Rivlin, adding it was "important that Israel know how to deal with" such a worldview.
"Splendid isolation" is a foreign policy characterised by a lack of intervention in international affairs and was first used to describe the British Empire's stance towards continental Europe at the end of the 19th Century.
US President Barack Obama named Hagel on Monday as his choice for defence secretary, although the appointment must be confirmed by the Senate.
The blunt-talking 66-year-old is known for his fiercely independent streak and has drawn fire for his opposition to some sanctions on Iran, which Israel and much of the West suspects is covertly trying to develop the capability to build a nuclear bomb.
He has also been accused of insufficient support for Israel, and his nomination drew criticism from some of the Jewish state's supporters.
"The concern is not only an Israeli concern and is not even tied to Hagel's personal stance on Israel. The nomination of Hagel doesn't only affect Israel but it affects the balance of global strategic forces," Rivlin said.
"You cannot separate the security of the United States from the security and stability of the Middle East, and the threat of Iran represents a danger to the United States.
"One man does not determine policy and there is no danger in his nomination to the strategic ties between Israel and the United States," he said, expressing confidence that Israel's security establishment would find a way of working with Hagel.