Israeli President Reuven Rivlin told the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff at a Jerusalem meeting, “[inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”@Jspace_News” suffix=”-Rivlin”]I was born in Jerusalem and I am Israeli.[/inlinetweet]”

Rivlin made the remark in a meeting with Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey in Jerusalem. Rivlin was referring to this week’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling that American citizens born in Jerusalem cannot list Israel as their birthplace on their U.S. passports.

“We are proud to have you as a friend. We salute and appreciate you, and your friendship will be well remembered. I am a seventh generation Jerusalemite, and even though I was born nine years before the State of Israel was established, I was born in Jerusalem, and I am Israeli,” Rivlin said.

In the meeting, Rivlin also addressed the Syrian civil war, which he said “is a very real threat to the citizens of Israel—Jews, Muslims, and Christians alike.”

Dempsey said he was in Israel “to gain a better understanding with our counterparts in the IDF, of the threats and security challenges, and of what we can do to address them.”

“While this is my sixth time here, my Israeli counterpart has been to America eight times. And at a staff level we are interacting constantly, and this kind of interaction is necessary for us to face the security challenges that face not only Israel but the United States. You have our deep commitment to continue to build on that relationship, but you don’t have to thank me, this is something we are honored to be part of,” Dempsey said.

On Tuesday, Dempsey met for the first time with his Israeli counterpart, Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot. Israel and the Israel Defense Forces have “no greater friend on the face of the Earth than the United States military,” Dempsey said prior to the meeting after receiving a badge of appreciation from Eisenkot at IDF headquarters in Tel Aviv.

It is Dempsey’s sixth visit to Israel.