norton schwartz 88.
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United States Air Force Commander Gen. Norton A. Schwartz held talks in Israel over the past week, defense officials said Wednesday.
Schwartz, the first Jewish commander of the USAF, has been in Israel since Sunday as a guest of Israeli Air Force commander Maj.-Gen. Ido Nehushtan.
According to defense officials, Schwartz and Nehushtan discussed a wide-range of issues. Schwartz's visit came on the heels of a similar visit Nehushtan made to the US last month.
During his four-day visit, Schwartz met with Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi and flew in an IAF Zufit reconnaissance plane. Nehushtan also gave Schwartz a helicopter tour of Israel's borders and explained to him the different threats the country faces in the north and south.
Schwartz's trip to Israel kicks off a round of visits expected next week by senior Obama administration officials, including National Security Adviser James Jones, Defense Secretary Robert Gates and White House official Dennis Ross.
Defense officials said that the talks with the officials would focus on a wide-range of topics including the recent political tension between Jerusalem and Washington over settlement construction but also in order to coordinate positions ahead of the dialogue the US plans to hold with Teheran.
Nehushtan and Schwartz also discussed Israeli plans to purchase the F-35 stealth fighter jet. The Defense Ministry submitted an official Letter of Request for 25 aircraft earlier this month and plans to sign a contract with the USAF in the beginning of next year.