Dempsey Meets With Israeli Officials
By Cheryl Pellerin
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Jan. 20, 2012 Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, traveled to Israel this week where he met with his Israeli counterpart and other officials for the first time as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, a Pentagon official said today.
U.S. Ambassador to Israel Daniel B. Shapiro and U.S. Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, meet with Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak at the Rabin military base in Tel Aviv, Israel, Jan. 20, 2012. DOD photo by D. Myles Cullen
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
The chairman principally met with Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz, chief of general staff of the Israeli defense forces, to discuss military-to-military relations, the new U.S. defense strategy, budget and economic issues, and regional security challenges, Dempsey’s spokesman, Marine Corps Col. David Lapan, said.
They also talked about postponing the large U.S.-Israel bilateral exercise called Austere Challenge 12 and agreed to hold it later in the year “to achieve a better training outcome,” Lapan said.
Dempsey also met with Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak, President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, he added.
“Each reinforced the deep and special relationship shared by Israel and the U.S.,” Lapan said. “These discussions also served to advance a common understanding of the regional security environment.”
During a visit to Jerusalem, Dempsey toured Yad Vashem Holocaust History Museum and placed a wreath in honor of the six million Holocaust victims.
In brief remarks after the tour, Dempsey noted the significance of the date -- 70 years to the day of the infamous Wannsee Conference held in that Berlin suburb on Jan. 20, 1942, Lapan said. It was at that meeting that senior officials of the Nazi regime discussed their “Final solution to the Jewish problem.”
"We are committed to ensuring that such a human tragedy never happens again,” Dempsey wrote in the museum’s visitor’s book, Lapan said.