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"Senator Hagel volunteered that he has always supported Israel's right to retaliate militarily in the face of terrorist attacks by Hezbollah or Hamas," Schumer said. He noted that Hagel pledged to facilitate sales of F-35 warplanes to Israel, and to continue cooperation on Israel's Iron Dome missile defence system.
In his letter to Boxer, Hagel said he intended to "expand the depth and breadth of US-Israel co-operation" in the face of historic changes in the Middle East.
"As to my use of the phrase 'Jewish lobby' to describe those who advocate for a strong US-Israel relationship, I've acknowledged that this was a very poor choice of words. I've said so publicly and I regret saying it," Hagel wrote, saying he used the phrase only once: "I recognise that this kind of language can be construed as anti-Israel."