The IDF Chief of the General Staff, Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi, will leave Israel on Sunday night for a week-long working visit in the United States. He will hold a series of meetings with government, military, security and public diplomacy officials in Washington, D.C. and New York.
Lt.-Gen. Ashkenazi has scheduled meetings at the White House with the Head of the U.S. National Security Council, General James L. Jones, as well as the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the U.S Military, Admiral Michael G. Mullen and additional officials in government and congress.
Ashkenazi, 56, is Israel’s 19th IDF Chief of Staff, succeeding in this position such names as Yitzchak Rabin, Moshe Dayan, archaeologist Yigael Yadin and Ehud Barak.
His visit will also include his participation as guest of honor at the annual Friends of the IDF (FIDF) conference this Tuesday at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City. In the wake of a planned Arab anti-Israel demonstration outside the hotel, various Jewish groups have announced a counter-protest that evening, involving the distribution of literature and otherwise alerting the public about the true nature of Fatah, Hamas and the PA. The Jewish groups will highlight the facts that Hamas acts against Christians, uses women and children as human shields, fires rockets from mosques, homes, and schools, and teaches hatred of Israel in its schools and media.
Escorting the Chief of Staff on his visit will be his wife Ronit, IDF Spokesperson Brig.-Gen. Avi Bnayahu and Ashkenazi’s top aide Lt.-Col. Amos HaCohen. He will be replaced during his absence by Deputy Chief of Staff Maj.-Gen. Benny Ganz.