By Adam Levine
A casually dressed Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey, chats with his Israeli counterpart Benny Gantz after Dempsey's arrival in Israel for meetings today.
The photo, released by the Israeli military, could be an effort to show everything is just fine between the two militaries.
There has been speculation that Dempsey was carrying a message to Israel not to act rashly against Iran. Asked about that in a radio interview earlier this week, Israel's Defense Minister said the two countries are simpatico on the issue.
“The U.S. understands that we have to listen to what they say and I think they listen to us..” Barak said “I don’t think there is much difference in how we see things”
Dempsey recently told our Barbara Starr that the U.S. may very well not be told by Israel if they chose to strike at Iran's nuclear program. In this week's radio interview, Barak said any such decision to go after Iran's nuclear program is "very far off."
Just last week, the U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta made what were interpreted as veiled references to Israel being involved in the recent killing of an Iranian nuclear scientist.
"We have some ideas as to who might be involved, but we don’t know exactly who was involved, but I can tell you one thing: The United States was not involved in that kind of effort," Panetta said while speaking to soldiers in Texas last week. Pentagon officials dismissed that interpretation.
Dempsey is in Israel for meetings with his Israeli counterpart and government officials about regional security issues, officials from both countries said. Undoubtedly, Iran is a major part of that discussion though officials, when asked, say a wide range of issues will be addressed..
Israel and the U.S. postponed an upcoming joint missile defense exercise which also got tongues wagging. The postponement, Israel's ambassador to the United States Michael Oren said, was for "technical issues." Panetta said it was to better plan the exercise.
While officials say it is not specifically about Iran, they say a wide range of issues will be discussed.
Undoubtedly, that was not the discussion at this dinner, attended by their spouses Deanie Dempsey and Revital Gantz, as well. The Israeli military also released video of the two couples greeting each other on the streets of Jaffa and talking in the restaurant. The video also showed a military band playing a few chords of "New York, New York," which the Dempseys seemed amused by. Dempsey, after all, is known for doing a pretty mean version of the song himself.