White House press secretary Jay Carney listens to a question about Israel and Secretary of State John Kerry during his daily news briefing at the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2014. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
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Israel's hawkish defense minister drew rare U.S. condemnation Tuesday over reports he had denounced Secretary of State John Kerry's quest for Israeli-Palestinian peace as messianic and obsessive.Yaalon's remarks were quoted in the best-selling daily Yedioth Ahronoth as having been said behind closed doors.Responding to the Yedioth report with a written statement, Yaalon – who stopped short of denying he had made the personal attack on Kerry in private conversations – described Washington as an ally of utmost importance.Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, already at odds with Washington over settlement building on land Palestinians want for a state, scrambled to try to avoid a damaging crisis with his country's closest ally over Yaalon's remarks.
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