U.S. Army General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is holding meetings in Israel during the largest joint military exercise between the two countries.
“The security ties between Israel and the U.S. are deeper and stronger than they have been for many years,” Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said in an e-mailed statement from his office after meeting Dempsey yesterday.
The American general is also meeting with Israel’s Chief of General Staff Lieutenant General Binyamin Gantz to discuss “aspects of military cooperation and shared security challenges,” the army spokesman’s office said in an e-mailed statement today. Dempsey is also scheduled to visit an Israeli- made anti-missile Iron Dome battery.
The mock military maneuvers and computer war simulations come amid heightened tensions with Iran over its nuclear program that Israel says is aimed at achieving nuclear weapons and Iranian officials say is intended for civilian purposes only.
The U.S.-Israeli exercise, Austere Challenge 12, follows a U.S.-led exercise last month that involved more than 30 nations in the largest mine-cleaning demonstration in the Persian Gulf region.
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