Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey, is in Israel, where he was greeted heartily by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, and held a meeting with Minister of Defense Moshe Yaalon at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem.
IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz and other officials were present at the meeting. Yaalon and Dempsey discussed the situation in the Middle East as well as the cooperation between the two countries.
Defense Minister Yaalon made the following remarks: "Welcome to Israel and Jerusalem. We once again have the opportunity to meet and discuss a number of topics. First of all, thank you for being a true friend of the State of Israel and the IDF. We're here to discuss relations between our two countries and developments in the region. We truly appreciate the close relations between the United States and Israel. For us, the United States is a strategic ally and our greatest friend. Our relations with the United States are a cornerstone of Israel's national security. We're witness to the many new challenges developing in our region. The only constant in our region is change, and we are therefore working together to evaluate and formulate plans for dealing with these new challenges, based on our mutual values and joint interests.
"This is a critical week for the Israeli-Palestinian issue and we appreciate the efforts made by US Secretary of State John Kerry, as well as the commitment and contribution of President Obama towards this endeavor. Thank you for this opportunity to discuss these issues with you".
Gen. Dempsey joked about spending more time with Gen. Gantz than he does with his wife. “This is a time when we need to remain even closer,” he said, “and you have our commitment to do that. This particular meeting after today, when I spend time with Gen. Gantz tomorrow, we're going to be trying to look a little deeper the future and try to see how we imagine 2020 and then walk our way back from that.”