yaalon dunford

The top American military official is visiting Israel to discuss the major issues of the region, underscoring the close bond between the two countries.

The new chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, US Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford, is in Israel for talks with senior Israeli leaders, as Palestinian terrorism continues around the country.

This is Dunford’s first overseas trip since taking the job on October 1.

He met on Sunday with Minister of Defense Moshe Ya’alon.

“General Dunford is a true friend of the State of Israel. The United States is our strategic ally, and the relationship between the countries is a cornerstone of our national security,” Ya’alon said in a statement.

He later met with Lt. Gen. Gadi Eizenkot, the commander-in-chief of the Israel Defense Forces, and others.

Navy Capt. Greg Hicks said the latest wave of Palestinian violence may come up in meetings, but Dunford’s visit was long-planned and his goal is to meet his Israeli counterparts and reaffirm America’s commitment to Israel. He also will visit other countries in the region.

General Martin Dempsey, the former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, visited Israel in June amid the negotiations between the P5+1 powers and Iran over the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program.

By: AP and United with Israel Staff