The chairman of the U.S. joint chiefs of staff, Army Gen. Mark Milley, made a brief visit to Israel on Friday for face-to-face talks with the IDF chief of staff, Lieut. Gen. Aviv Kochavi, and Defense Minister Benny Gantz, as well as a video conference with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The top US general's meetings took place at the IAF's Nevatim base.
Milley and Prime Minister Netanyahu were said to have discussed Iran and the security challenges in the region.
IDF Chief of Staff Kochavi said he spoke with Milley about various threats that the IDF faces, near and far, and how it is dealing with them. The IDF and the U.S. Armed Forces have a mutual interest in preventing Iran and its proxies from jeopardizing the stability of the region, Kochavi pointed out, adding that the IDF is “preparing for a variety of scenarios and will act to the extent necessary to remove any threat that endangers the sovereignty of Israel or its citizens.”
Defense Minister Gantz said Milley's visit amid the global pandemic demonstrates the close cooperation and the excellent relations between the defense establishment, the IDF and the US military that are the cornerstone of the Israeli security doctrine. The minister added that he emphasized to Milley the need to continue pressure on Iran and its proxies while maintaining and strengthening cooperation with moderate forces in the area.
The IDF "is prepared and ready for any scenario and any threat, and I do not suggest our enemies to test us. We have no interest in escalation, but we will do all that is necessary to protect Israeli citizens,” Gantz said.
Milley's second visit to Israel since assuming the top post came amid rising tensions in the region, days after the latest airstrikes on pro-Iranian targets in Syria, and after a series of mysterious explosions in Iran in recent weeks.