The foreign policy outlook of US President Barack 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.
Obama named Hagel on Monday as his choice for Pentagon chief 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 trying to develop a nuclear weapons capability.
He has also been accused of insufficient support for Israel, with his nomination drawing 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.
With just two weeks until Israelis go to the polls for a snap general election, officials have largely kept quiet on Hagel's nomination, which has sparked a welter of gloomy forecasts in the Israeli press.
The top-selling Yediot Aharonot said it was "the first course in the bitter meal that Obama intends to feed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu," suggesting it was payback for Netanyahu's open support for Obama's rival during the US presidential election.
"It is going to be very unpleasant for us under Hagel," a high-ranking Israeli official told Maariv, citing Hagel's position on Iran and his support for negotiations with the Islamist Hamas movement.
But others were more circumspect.
"There were in the past nominations which appeared worrying, but at the end of the day, the reality turned out to be totally different," Home Front Defence Minister Avi Dichter told public radio.
"Israel and America's bond goes way, way beyond certain relations between individuals," said Naftali Bennett, head of The Jewish Home, a national religious pro-settler party which polls suggest could be the third largest in parliament.
"There's Congress, there's the president, and there's the American public, which overwhelmingly supports Israel," he told reporters.