Dr Mike Evans

Israel conducts major military exercise with U.S.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant visited the Israel Air Force control center in the framework of the Juniper Oak 23.2 exercise on Wednesday in a military exercise with U.S. Air Forces.

The gathering also included IDF Chief-of-Staff Lt.-Gen. Herzi Halevi, National Security Council Director Tzachi Hanegbi, Air Force Commander Maj.-Gen. Tomer Bar, Prime Minister’s Military Secretary Maj.-Gen. Avi Gil, IDF Operations Branch Commander Maj.-Gen. Oded Basiuk and additional senior commanders, according to a statement from the prime minister’s office.

Netanyahu observed the live-fire exercise by the Israeli and U.S. air forces from the control center and was briefed on both the activity of the air, ground and naval forces in the exercise, along with the joint training with the U.S. military.

“This exercise expresses the unshakeable strategic partnership between Israel and the U.S., and constitutes an additional stage in building up Israeli military strength,” Netanyahu said. “Israel will always defend itself with its own forces but – of course – welcomes the deepening cooperation with our greatest ally.”

Gallant also released a statement regarding the joint military exercise with the U.S.

“The IDF is Israel’s shield. The strength of the IDF is what enables life in our country.
The cooperation in the exercise, between the IDF and the U.S. military, is a welcome step that improves and adds to the capabilities of the defense establishment,” he stated.

The two nations have conducted military exercises together for many years, but the latest effort is notable in its focus on preparing against threats from Iran’s nuclear weapon program.

In July, President Joe Biden signed an agreement with then-Prime Minister Yair Lapid committed to keeping Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. The agreement has also come as Iran has assisted Russia by providing its military with drones and other support in the Kremlin’s efforts against Ukraine.