Dr Mike Evans

Israel building regional air defense with US backing

Israel is building a U.S.-sponsor air defense system, Israel Defense Minister Benny Gantz said on Monday, as the nation seeks to improve efforts against threats from Iran and its proxies.

Referred to as the Middle East Air Defense Alliance, Gantz noted that efforts are already underway for multiple nations in the region to work together in defense against Iran.

“Over the past year I have been leading an extensive program, together with my partners at the Pentagon and in the US administration, that will strengthen the cooperation between Israel and countries in the region,” Gantz said, according to the Jerusalem Post.

“This program is already operative and has already enabled the successful interception of Iranian attempts to attack Israel and other countries,” he added.

The news comes ahead of a planned trip by President Joe Biden in July to visit both Israel and Saudi Arabia. Defense efforts and Iran’s nuclear development will likely be among the topics under discussion during meetings.

Iran has come under increased scrutiny in recent weeks over actions regarding its nuclear locations. The nation was condemned by a U.N. watchdog of its nuclear program recently after Iran removed 27 of the cameras used to monitor its program.

Last week, satellite images also captured what appeared to be preparation for a missile test. Iran later admitted that preparations were taking place.

Despite efforts by the U.S. and other Western nations to restart the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, progress has been slow and remains unlikely. The deal most recently stalled after Iran demanded that its revolutionary guard by removed from America’s terror watch list, a change the U.S. refused to make. Israel applauded the U.S. decision.

Biden’s visit to Israel may not all be positive for Israel, however. The president also plans to meet with Palestinian leaders in the West Bank, perhaps undoing some of the work of the Trump administration to support Israel and work toward increased normalization with other nations through the Abraham Accords.