Israel\u2019s visiting defense minister said Thursday that it will stay engaged as the U.S. tries to return to a nuclear deal with Iran, sidestepping what\u2019s long been an area of open disagreement between the United States and the now-jeopardized government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.Benny Gantz told reporters before a meeting with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin that Iran\u2019s nuclear program and other actions were an \u201cexistential threat\u201d to Israel. \u201cStopping Iran is certainly a shared strategic need of the United States,\u201d Israel and other countries, Gantz said.But on a visit that came as an opposition coalition back home tries to end Netanyahu\u2019s 12 years in power, Gantz \u2014 unlike Netanyahu \u2014 stopped short of openly opposing the Biden administration\u2019s efforts to get the United States back into a deal limiting Iran\u2019s nuclear program, in exchange for relief from sanctions.Sitting across a table from his U.S. counterpart at the Pentagon, Gantz said, \u201cOur dialogue is so important to ensuring that any deal effectively meets its goal of keeping Iran away from nuclear weapons.\u201d\u201cOf course, given the scope of the threat, Israel must always make sure that it has the ability to protect itself,\u201d Gantz added.The Israeli official made clear the change in tone was purposeful. \u201cWe will continue this important strategic dialogue in private discussion ... only, not in the media in a provoking way,\u201d he said, calling for \u201copen dialogue behind closed doors.\u201d It echoed Biden\u2019s own embrace of what the administration has called quiet diplomacy when dealing with Israel.Netanyahu\u2019s years-long fight to torpedo the Iran nuclear deal \u2014 struck during the Obama administration in 2015, but rejected by President Donald Trump after his election \u2014 included Netanyahu denouncing it to a 2015 joint session of the U.S. Congress as a \u201cvery bad deal.\u201dNetanyahu has continued that open opposition in recent days, saying a deal \u201cpaves the way for Iran to have an arsenal of nuclear weapons with international legitimacy\u201d and that the fight against that was worth any \u201cfriction with our great friend the United States.\u201dBiden has pressed for a return to the nuclear deal as the best way to keep Iran from building up what it says is a civilian nuclear program, and to calm a flashpoint in the Middle East. European negotiators expressed some optimism this week as they closed the latest round of talks in Vienna on getting the U.S. and Iran back in the deal.Gantz also met with national security adviser Jake Sullivan and Secretary of State Antony Blinken. Gantz is part of the coalition pushing to unseat Netanyahu, and he is expected to remain in his post as defense minister if the government changes.His meetings Thursday underscored U.S. security commitments to Israel as that country weathers its greatest domestic political upheaval in years and the aftermath of last month\u2019s war with Hamas militants in Gaza.Gantz said he would lay out for administration officials a \u201ccomplete plan\u201d for a diplomatic end to hostilities with the Palestinians. He gave no details.A key aim of Gantz\u2019s visit to Washington was believed to be securing U.S. funding to help restock Israel\u2019s Iron Dome, a sophisticated missile defense system that smacked down many of the rockets Hamas militants fired toward Israel last month. More than 260 people were killed, the vast majority Palestinians, in an 11-day war in which Israel struck targets in Hamas-ruled Gaza with hundreds of airstrikes while Hamas fired more than 4,000 rockets at Israel.Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, touring Israel this week in a show of support after the latest Gaza war, said he expected Israelis to seek up to $1 billion from the U.S. for Iron Dome, including for restocking the system\u2019s interception missiles.U.S. officials made no immediate announcements on funding. Austin noted Biden \u201chas expressed his full support for replenishing Israel\u2019s Iron Dome missile defense system, which saved so many lives.\u201d\u201cWe are committed to maintaining Israel\u2019s qualitative military edge and ensuring that Israel can defend itself,\u201d Austin added.The U.S. partnership in Israel\u2019s Iron Dome has wide bipartisan support in Congress, as does overall U.S. support for Israel\u2019s defense, a tenet of U.S. foreign policy for decades. Last month\u2019s war, however \u2014 the fiercest Israeli-Palestinian fighting since 2014 \u2014 has exposed a rift in Biden\u2019s Democratic Party. Progressives and some others demanded a cease-fire by Israel as well as Hamas as Palestinian deaths grew in the crowded Gaza Strip.Blinken told reporters before meeting with Gantz that Americans also were talking to him about getting aid in to Gaza to help rebuild housing and services damaged and destroyed in the fighting, in addition to discussing Israeli security.