Adm. Michael Mullen, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, arrived for an
unannounced visit on Monday evening to attend a farewell dinner with the top IDF
officers before he steps down on September 30.
It was Mullen’s sixth
visit to Israel since he was appointed chairman of the joint chiefs in
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Amidst changes, Mullen reaffirms US-Israeli strategic ties
He came to Israel from Afghanistan where he participated in the
change of command over American and coalition forces on Monday morning. Gen.
John Allen took over command from Gen. David Petraeus, who is retiring from the
military to become the new director of the CIA.
Mullen’s trip to Israel
was kept quiet and did not appear on the official schedule of his sweep through
Asia that was available on the Pentagon’s website. His visit included talks with
Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz and a dinner with top IDF
Mullen met with Gantz’s predecessor Lt.- Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi
almost 20 times over the past four years and even attended Ashkenazi’s
retirement party in February. He knows Gantz from the time the IDF chief served
as military attaché to Washington and the two men have spoken a number of time
since Gantz was appointed chief of General Staff in February.
said that Mullen worked over the years to strengthen military ties between
Israel and the United States and maintained a “brave relationship” with his