Israel and U.S. keeping it casual
Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey (left) shakes the hand of Israel's Chief of the General Staff Benny Gantz at a restaurant in Jaffa. Looking on are their wives, Deanie Dempsey and Revital Gantz
January 19th, 2012
03:35 PM ET

Israel and U.S. keeping it casual

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.

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Filed under: Dempsey • Iran • Israel • Military
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    How quiet is too quiet?

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  13. Sayan Majumdar

    The photographic impression is indeed too casual for comfort, may well be followed by pre-emptive strikes on Iranian “strategic” infrastructures.

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    January 20, 2012 at 7:10 am | Reply
  14. Clay Hutmacher

    That is not GEN Dempsey in the picture

    January 20, 2012 at 12:43 am | Reply
  15. Jesus: The Blond Haired, Blue Eyed White Hippy From The Middle East

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    January 20, 2012 at 12:39 am | Reply
  16. panzerduck

    Israel will tell America what it wants to hear, and then continue to follow its own course. Come to an agreement, buy time, then act. Yes, Israel will play any game and do what it must, at any cost to survive. However Iran is forceing this to a head, this has become a rallying point for the Arab world and they won't back down. This is Israel vs the ME and square footage will play a role. This must be de-fused soon, we are on a slippery slope and its a long way down.......

    January 19, 2012 at 7:04 pm | Reply
    • Craig

      "Follow its own course??" What or whose other course do you think it should follow? How about, "Sure we'll just ignore a country that wants to vaporize us because our main ally thinks we should" ?? A country that does that isn't soverign, and its leaders are not doing the #1 thing they're elected to do – safeguard the safety of their citizens.

      January 19, 2012 at 10:52 pm | Reply
    • fredericfury

      yes and america has always stood with israel in the she with us but with the king muslim in dc who knows ??? israel trys to live in peace but there are wack jobs like the pimp of persia who wants to murder all jews this is not about land period . they the powers in iran want all jews dead and christians to for that matter lets face it for any man to stand with the wack job in iran well that person would have to be like them and that is sick period i will always stand with israel for a number of reasons its been a few bad years for dictators so maybe that will include the pimp of persia one can hope

      January 20, 2012 at 2:21 pm | Reply
  17. mipolitic

    ya , everything is just fine, two usa battle groups and a host of nato militay might in the region, russia yelling wait a minute, and bibi is out of town instead of hosting the gen of the most powerful military in the world,
    this is a clear sign that bibi has made up his mind and everyone is yelling wait a minute. pres obama is now speaking loud and clear to iran with the two battle groups in the area and nato might. i think the restrained actions of israel is at its end , and its up to iran to backaway and dismantle its nkue threats. we are here in 2012 facing another conflick, but the difference this time is the mad men making threats with death to america and to jews are backing it up with nukes. pray

    January 19, 2012 at 6:01 pm | Reply
  18. RagMcmuffin

    He is saying, "Let the monkey's start throwing shit from their cages".

    January 19, 2012 at 4:43 pm | Reply
  19. samuelprime

    Of course, one cannot expect Israel to tell Obama its plans when Obama has been treating Israel as much less than a friend - unlike former US presidents. Israel will have to do what is necessary to protect itself form the rapidly growing number of warmongering enemies around it. And being a small nation it MUST act and think ahead in order to survive. Am sure the US would do exactly the same thing.

    January 19, 2012 at 4:33 pm | Reply
    • fredericfury

      obama is a jew hater thats the bottom line i never go by what this muslim says just look at his actions he hates israel and the jews period look how he treated bb when he was here ?? worse then a dog he obama is such a phony you see the so called church he went to and took his little children to whats that tell you about him as a person he has only helped muslims around the globe he helped replace bad leaders but to put monsters in place of where you had animals he has impowered the radical muslims the worst of the worst this socalled muslim brotherhood and this arab spring is no more then a muslim killing spree why most people do not see what this muslim in dc is doing is hard to understand but these vile GODLESS MISFITS OF NATURE AKA MUSLIMS MUST BE REMOVED AT ANY COST THEY ARE INDEED LESS THEN HUMAN PERIOD

      January 20, 2012 at 2:39 pm | Reply

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