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Netanyahu to Dempsey: Iranian Threat Dwarfs All the Others

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu met on Tuesday evening with the U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin E. Dempsey.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 8/14/2013, 5:15 AM

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu met on Tuesday evening in the Prime Minister’s Residence with the U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin E. Dempsey.

Dempsey arrived in Israel on Monday for a visit that will deal with the Syrian civil war and Sinai terrorism.

During the visit, General Dempsey met with IDF Chief of Staff Lieutenant-General Benny Gantz and other IDF commanders to discuss cooperation and common security challenges.

He is also scheduled to meet Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon.

At the start of the meeting with Netanyahu, the Prime Minister told Dempsey, “A few months ago I had the pleasure of hosting here your commander-in-chief, President Obama. I very much appreciated what he said about the strength of our strategic alliance, our security cooperation and his statement reaffirming once again that Israel must be able to defend itself by itself against any threat.”

Netanyahu told Dempsey that Israel faces many threats but the one threat that “dwarfs” all the others is the Iranian nuclear threat.

“We can work and will work together to make sure that doesn’t happen, and in addition to that we have other security challenges and the challenge of establishing peace in the region,” he said.

Earlier Tuesday, Dempsey met with Gantz at the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv.

"I would like to welcome General Dempsey for another very important visit. This is probably not the last visit. The Middle East is going through major changes with strategic consequences that we must be aware of," said Gantz.

"The cooperation between the U.S. and Israel is very important, based on the same values and serves the same interests. May the next few years of cooperation between us continue to be as good as they have been before."

General Dempsey told Gantz that "it is good to be back and good to continue to build the strong relationship between us, which was the basis of all achievement. And to do two important things: One is to continue to build that strong relationship, which is the basis of us accomplishing anything - it is all about our relationship. And secondly, to have a chance to gain your insights and the insights of your key leaders on issues in the region, so that we can compare notes, to see how we see issues as they are evolving."

"That's been the most important part of our visit today," he added, "and I'm confident that will remain the most important part of our engagements in the future. The ability to see both the vulnerabilities and the opportunities. I thank you for your time as always, Benny."