Kerry protests remarks by Israeli defense chief -spokeswoman | Reuters

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday to protest remarks by Israel's defense minister that portrayed the United States as weak in its handling of nuclear talks with Iran and other world affairs, a State Department spokeswoman said.

Speaking during a lecture at Tel Aviv University on Monday, Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon said Israel could not rely on its main ally to take the lead in confronting Iran over its nuclear program. He also pointed to Ukraine's crisis as an example of Washington "showing weakness.

It is the second time this year that Washington has taken issue with tough public criticism from Yaalon, a former armed forces chief and a hawkish member of Netanyahu's right-wing Likud party.