By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
ABOARD A U.S. MILITARY AIRCRAFT, March 29, 2014 – Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is traveling to Israel for meetings with senior Israeli military officials.
Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz, the Israeli Defense Forces chief of staff, will host the chairman.
“The focus of the chairman’s discussions with his counterparts will be on issues of mutual strategic interest, while continuing to build on this important defense relationship,” said Air Force Col. Ed Thomas, spokesman for the chairman.
This will be Dempsey’s fifth trip to Israel as chairman. These military-to-military meetings demonstrate America’s unwavering commitment to Israel’s security and the meetings come amid much change and turmoil in the region.
Millions of refugees from Syria’s civil war are straining resources in Jordan and Turkey and there is the threat that the conflict could spill over Syria’s borders. Insurgents continue attacks in Iraq. Egypt – the largest Arab nation – is going through its own political transition. Iran is negotiating over its nuclear program while continuing to support terror groups including Hezbollah that threaten Israel.
The chairman will also touch on global issues with this close American ally including the situation in Ukraine and efforts to get Russia to de-escalate the situation there.
Dempsey last visited Israel in August 2013.