U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter is being warmly welcomed by his Israeli counterpart on the first Cabinet-level U.S. visit to the Jewish state since the Iran nuclear deal was announced.

The Pentagon chief met at Israel's defense headquarters Monday with Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon and on Tuesday is to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has strongly criticized the Iran deal.

Yaalon thanked Carter for his contributions to Israeli security and said Israel appreciates its friendship with the U.S.

The Israeli defense forces held a standard welcoming ceremony for Carter and he then went into a closed meeting with Yaalon.