American and Israeli military chiefs meet in Tel Aviv, stress close defense ties

U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford, Jr. Credit: U.S. Marine Corps via Wikimedia Commons.

( U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford, Jr. met with Israeli Defense Minster Moshe Ya’alon in Tel Aviv on Thursday. The military chiefs emphasized close U.S.-Israel cooperation in confronting the “instability in the region.”

“The thing that gives me confidence that we’ll actually be able to deal with these challenges is that we have partners and allies to help us,” Dunford told Ya’alon, the Times of Israel reported.

Dunford is currently visiting Israel for the second time since taking over the Joint Chiefs chairman post in October 2015. His latest visit comes shortly after Ya’alon announced that a new 10-year military aid package from the U.S. to Israel will be finalized “in the coming weeks.”

“My first visit overseas was [to Israel], and I appreciate the warm welcome I had. This is my second [visit] in a short period of time, and I think that reflects what you said—how important this relationship is,” Dunford told Ya’alon. “The relationship between our two countries is about much more than just the military to military relationship, but I believe that’s one of the foundational elements.” 

“This is your second trip in a very short time. Your visit now, including your visit to the Juniper Cobra exercise, is another demonstration of the depth of the relationship between our armed forces and intelligence agencies,” Ya’alon said, referencing the major joint Israeli-American missile defense drill that takes place every two years.

Dunford’s two visits to the Jewish state serve as a reminder of Israel’s close military cooperation with America, despite the much-discussed tense relationship between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. President Barack Obama. In addition, U.S. officials confirmed this week that Vice President Joe Biden will visit Israel next week.

Posted on March 3, 2016 .