IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi left for a working visit to Canada and the United States Saturday night in what may his last trip abroad before his term of office ends next year.
He will be hosted by his Canadian counterpart, General Walter Natynczak, a strong ally who expressed understanding for Israel’s Operation Cast Lead counterterrorist campaign two years ago.
The Chief of Staff also will meet with the Canadian Minister of National Defense, Israel’s Ambassador to Canada and Jewish leaders in Toronto. Later in the week, Lt. Gen. Ashkenazi will visit U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Michael Mullen, who has visited Israel several times the past two years.
Congressman Howard Berman, outgoing chairman of the House Of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee, also will host Gen. Ashkenazi. Rep. Berman has come out in favor of clearing $100 military aid for Lebanon despite warnings in Israel that the arms will end up in the hands of Hizbullah.
Berman’s apparent successor, Republican Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, is opposed to further aid to Lebanon as well as to the Palestinian Authority.