Mossad chief, Israeli security officials to hold meetings in Washington later this week

Defense officials and Mossad Director to hold meetings with security and White House officials later this week; Talks to center on Syria and Lebanon; White House: The delegation’s arrival in Washington is a powerful sign of the trust between Israel and McMaster.

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A security delegation from Israel led by the Director of the Mossad will travel to Washington this week, holding meetings centered on Syria and Lebanon with top US security and White House officials.

President Trump’s special advisor Jared Kushner and Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt organized the meetings.

The delegation will be led by Mossad Chief Yossi Cohen and include Head of IDF Military Intelligence, Maj. Gen. Herzl HaLevi, and Zohar Palti from the Defense Ministry. Meetings will be held with Kushner, Greenblatt, Deputy National Security Advisor Dina Powell and Trump’s National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster.

The White House confirmed the meeting on Tuesday, emphasizing that the meetings will center on Syria and Lebanon and not the peace process or Palestinians, releasing the statement “Talks will focus on Israel’s security needs vis-a-vis Syria and Lebanon, and will not deal with the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. The delegation’s arrival in Washington is a powerful sign of the trust between Israel and McMaster.”

The meeting scheduled for later this week follows Mossad Director Yossi Cohen’s intelligence report to Prime Minister Netanyahu on Iran’s ongoing rush for territory in the region on Sunday. In his report, Cohen showed Iran’s territorial gains, mainly in Syria, but also in Yemen, Iraq and Lebanon, as well as on the Islamic Republic’s economic growth following the nuclear deal. According to Cohen, “The areas where Daesh [ISIS] presence is decreasing, Iran is working to fill the void.”

Prime Minister Netanyahu addressed the Mossad Chief’s report, stating on Sunday evening to the press “I’ll give you a summary in one sentence—ISIS going out, Iran coming in. Simple. We’re mostly talking about Syria. Our policy is clear: We firmly oppose to the military buildup of Iran and its proxies, primarily Hezbollah, in Syria. And we will do whatever it takes to protect Israel’s security.”