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Friday, January 20, 2012

Top U.S. general visits Israel as Iran tensions rise

Jerusalem (CNN) -- America's top military official began a series of high-profile meetings with Israeli leaders Friday amid growing international concerns that the Israeli government could act on its own to thwart Iran's nuclear program.

In his first trip to Israel since being named the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey appeared to downplay differences in policy between the two countries and stress U.S. - Israeli cooperation.

Meeting with his Israeli counterpart, Lt. General Benny Gantz, Dempsey said his visit reflected "the commitment we have with each other, and I'm here to assure you that's the case."

Gantz echoed the importance of cooperation between the two nations but appeared to allude to differences in policy approaches.

"I do know that both our countries share the same interests, both the same values, and I'm sure that we can somehow work it out together," Gantz told Dempsey during the course of a pre-meeting photo-op.

In a later meeting, Dempsey was told by Israeli President Shimon Peres that Israel had trust in the United States military and "that even today in a very complicated situation we can find a common ground." Read More