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Dunford Arrives in Jerusalem for Talks With Israeli Officials, U.S. Ambassador

Oct. 17, 2015 | BY Jim Garamone , DOD News

In his first trip overseas as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Marine Corps Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr. will meet with Israeli leaders here.

“The trip has been planned for months,” said Navy Capt. Greg Hicks, the chairman’s special assistant for public affairs. “The purpose is to meet his counterpart for the first time and reaffirm the strong ties between our militaries and our two countries.”

Dunford will meet with Lt. Gen. Gadi Eizenkot, the commander-in-chief of the Israeli Defense Force, tomorrow at the Kiriya – the Israeli version of the Pentagon. He will also meet with several other senior Israeli leaders.

Dunford will also meet with U.S. Ambassador to Israel Daniel Shapiro and his country team at the U.S. consulate here.

Dunford is in listening mode on this trip, Hicks said. “He wants to get a from-their-eyes view of our relationship and hopefully build upon that and establish a relationship with General Eizenkot as we move forward and advance our alliance,” he said.

Dunford will stress America’s continuing strong support for Israel. “He will reaffirm America’s commitment to Israel’s security and then get a view from them of what security conditions are like here,” Hicks said.

There has been a recent outbreak of Israeli-Palestinian violence in the region. Extremists have reportedly called for a "day of rage" against Israel. More than 40 people have reportedly been killed in attacks over the past two weeks.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has called on Israel and Palestine to restore calm. He will meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu in Berlin next week.

Follow Jim Garamone on Twitter: @GaramoneDoDNews