Israel and the IDF have “no greater friend on the face of the Earth than the United States military,” US military chief Gen. Martin Dempsey told his counterpart in Israel on Tuesday.
Dempsey, the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, made the warm remarks after receiving a badge of appreciation from Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot at a ceremony held at the Kirya IDF headquarters in Tel Aviv.
The ceremony followed a guard of honor held by the IDF for Dempsey.
“I am greatly honored to host your visit to Israel.
Your loyalty, friendship, and personal commitment to our security have inspired us,” Eisenkot told Dempsey.
“Under your leadership, the cooperation between our militaries has become more powerful.”
Dempsey responded by saying, “I’m so honored to accept this award. And I accept it on behalf of all of the men and women who had the privilege of serving side by side with the men and women of the IDF.”
The words reflected years of close cooperation between the two armed forces, which has continued irrespective of the turbulent diplomatic relationship between the Netanyahu government in Jerusalem and the Obama administration in Washington.
Dempsey, who arrived in Israel on Monday on an official visit, is holding a series of meetings with Eisenkot, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon and other Israeli security chiefs to discuss bilateral military cooperation and pressing security challenges.
This is Dempsey’s fifth visit to Israel since his appointment as US military chief four years ago.
He was last in Israel in March 2014, when he met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Ya’alon, and former IDF chief of staff Lt.- Gen. (res.) Benny Gantz for a series of closed-door meetings.
According to a Haaretz report, CIA director John Brennan visited Israel last week and met with senior security officials to discuss the pending agreement between world powers and Iran. According to the report, Brennan met with Mossad head Tamir Pardo, Military Intelligence head Maj.-Gen.
Herzl Halevi, Netanyahu and National Security Adviser Yossi Cohen. Israeli officials did not confirm the visit.