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U.S. Central Command’s Gen. Frank McKenzie met with Israel Defense Forces Chief of General Staff Lt. Gen. Aviv Kohavi in Tampa today.
The leaders discussed a range of issues, such as the situation in the West Bank, Jerusalem and Gaza, the current security challenges emanating from the Middle East and the ongoing effort to realign Israel from U.S. European Command to CENTCOM.
McKenzie and Kohavi agreed that the realignment will help broaden the bilateral and multilateral relationships that already exist between Israel, Gulf nations and the United States.
"The realignment reflects just how much the global security landscape has changed in the last 50 years," McKenzie said, "and is a natural evolution of military cooperation in the Middle East."
McKenzie said his intent is to maintain the momentum of the U.S. Government’s ironclad commitment to Israel’s security, while competing with the undue influences of Russia, China and Iran in the Middle East and Europe.
Added McKenzie: "My command will remain committed to addressing the region’s most vexing challenges through balanced and transparent security cooperation with all our partners."
The group also included defense attachés and international affairs officers from both nations.
The visit follows a June 16 meeting between CENTCOM deputy commander Vice Adm. Jim Malloy and Israel Defense Forces deputy chief of staff Maj. Gen. Herzi Halevi in Tampa.