U.S. official on secret visit to Israel

JERUSALEM (JTA) — The Vice Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral James Winnefeld, is in Israel to discuss security and defense issues.

Winnefeld’s visit, which was revealed by Israeli’s Army Radio Thursday on the last day of the meetings, was reportedly kept secret due to tension between Israel and the U.S. over the issue of an attack on Iran’s nuclear sites.

The visit came days after the Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey said that he did not want to be “complicit” in such an Israeli strike.

Winnefeld reportedly is in Israel at the invitation of his counterpart Brig.-Gen. Yair Naveh. The Israeli Defense Forces did not confirm the visit.

The commander of the 3rd Air Force, U.S. Air Forces Europe, Lt. Gen. Craig Franklin, is expected to visit Israel next week in order to prepare for next month’s Austere Challenge 12, the joint ballistic missiles exercise between the IDF and the US Army. 

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