Despite political upheaval and other turbulence, as administrations and leaders come and go, the relationship between Israel and the U.S. continues to remain strong, especially when it comes to the two nations' defense ties. The Jerusalem Post's Anna Ahronheim and Michael Wilner look at how the United States and the Jewish state remain such close allies when it comes to defending the freedom each country holds so dear:
Three years into his tenure as chief of staff of the Israeli military, Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot has a “rock solid” relationship with his American counterpart, General Joseph Dunford, sources around the general say.
The two men have maintained a consistent and professional relationship throughout a period of diplomatic turbulence under the Obama administration and at the outset of a delicate, uncertain start to the Trump presidency.
Israel was Dunford's first stop when he took over from Gen. Martin Dempsey in October 2015 as chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff– an intentional message to the Israeli public, and to Eisenkot, on the importance of the defense relationship.
Eisenkot, who was appointed Chief of Staff of the IDF in November 2014, rose through the ranks of the Golani Brigade and appointed as commander of the brigade in 1997. He became the military secretary of then-prime minister Ehud Barack in 1999 and became head of the Operations Branch of the IDF’s General Staff in 2005, serving in that position during the Second Lebanon War.
Deputy Defense Minister Eli Ben-Dahan told The Jerusalem Post that “Eisenkot knows what he is doing and where he is taking the IDF.”
Ben-Dahan, who was in Washington in April to meet Secretary for Veterans Affairs Dr. David Schulkin, said that he feels that "warm and friendly ties" between Jerusalem and Washington have grown since Trump entered the White House. According to Ben-Dahan, even Schulkin– who served as VA undersecretary of health under Barack Obama– "feels a different atmosphere under Trump."
“The ties between our armies are very deep and very strong, even under Obama,” he said, adding that “our ties were built over many years and we will continue to work together and share intelligence and projects such as the Iron Dome.”