IDF (Zahal) Spokesperson
Date: 17/03/2009, 7:22 PM
On Monday (Mar. 16), the Chief of the General Staff, Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi, who has been in the United States since Thursday (Mar. 12) on a work visit, decided to shorten his visit in order to participate in Tuesday’s (Mar. 17) security cabinet meeting regarding the abducted soldier Gilad Shalit. The decision of the Chief of the General Staff reflects his desire to be present in Israel during discussions on the returning of Gilad Shalit to Israel, and nothing further should be interpreted from it.
The Chief of the General Staff wishes to send his sincere apologies to the 1500 senior donors of the Friends of the IDF (Zahal) in the United States, who will gather for their annual donation gala dinner in New York City on Tuesday night (Mar. 17), in which Lt. Gen. Ashkenazi was supposed to participate as a guest of honor.
On Monday (Mar. 16), the Chief of the General Staff met with the National Security Advisor, General James Jones, and discussed professional matters such as Iran’s nuclear plans, the security situation along Israel’s northern border, weaponry smuggling, as well as the situation in the Palestinian Authority and the Gaza Strip following Operation Cast Lead. In addition, Lt. Gen. Ashkenazi met with Mr. Dennis Ross, the special advisor for the Persian Gulf and Southwest Asia to Secretary of State, Mrs. Hillary Clinton; the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; and the Commanders of the different branches of the U.S military. Alongside the Chief of the General Staff, the Ambassador of Israel in the United States, Mr. Salai Meridor; and the IDF (Zahal) Defense Attachי in Washington DC, Maj. Gen. Benny Gantz, attended the meetings.