(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.- Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi left on Sunday on a five-day
trip to Italy and France for talks with defense leaders aimed at increasing
military ties with Europe.
Ashkenazi’s first stop was Rome, where he was
to meet with Italy’s Chief of Defense General Staff Gen. Vincenzo Camporini and
officials from the Italian Defense Ministry.
On Monday, on the eve of
Tisha Be’av, Ashkenazi is scheduled to hold a small ceremony at the Arch
Titus in Rome.
On Tuesday, Ashkenazi is to continue to Paris for talks
with his French counterpart, Adm.
Edouard Guillaud, as well as with
leaders of the Jewish community.
The IDF decided to go ahead with
Ashkenazi’s trip to Europe despite the continued threat that senior IDF
could be arrested for their involvement in Operation Cast Lead in the
in December 2008 and January 2009. Ashkenazi is accompanied by a large
detail as well as his wife, Ronit, and IDF Spokesman Brig.-Gen. Avi
The army’s ties with European countries have grown in recent
years due to increased cooperation in the war on terrorism.
Italy, for example, both have large military contingents in Afghanistan
as in southern Lebanon as part of UNIFIL.