IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot and Head of Britain's armed forces Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach .
(photo credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)
The head of Britain’s armed forces Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach made an official visit to Israel on Thursday as a guest of IDF Chief of Staff Lt.- Gen. Gadi Eisenkot.
Peach was welcomed by an official honor guard at the Kirya Military Headquarters in Tel Aviv.
During the visit, which the IDF said “illustrates the strength of strategic ties between the two armies and states,” Peach and Eisenkot were set to discuss joint security challenges and examine future military cooperation.
Peach began his military service in the British Royal Air Force in 1977, flying Canberras and Tornados. He served in Iraq, Belize, Hong Kong and Germany in the 1980s.
Peach was deployed as NATO air commander in Kosovo in 2000 and served as director- general of intelligence collection in the Ministry of Defense between 2003 and 2006, holding the titles of chief of defense intelligence and deputy chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee from 2006 to 2009. In 2011, Peach commanded the UK’s intervention in Libya. He held the position of vice chief of the Defense Staff from 2013 to 2016 before assuming the role of chief in 2016.
In September, Peach was elected to become the next Chairman of the NATO Military Committee, replacing Czech Gen. Petr Pavel, where he will be the senior military adviser to Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and the North Atlantic Council.
Israel’s relationship with NATO is defined as a “partnership,” and the country has been a member of NATO’s Mediterranean Dialogue since it was initiated in 1994, along with the non-NATO Mediterranean countries of Jordan, Algeria, Egypt, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia.
One of the Mediterranean Dialogue’s main goals is to create a basis for cooperation in the field of security and counterterrorism. But after the breakdown of ties with Turkey six years ago, Ankara exerted efforts to isolate Jerusalem from military cooperation with NATO.
Following the reconciliation between Turkey and Israel in June of last year, Ankara withdrew its longstanding veto against Jerusalem being accepted as a partner-nation to the organization. Last January, Israel opened its first-ever diplomatic mission to NATO headquarters along with several other countries belonging to the Istanbul Initiative, which is comprised of Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait and the UAE.
In March, Gen. Peter Pavel, current Chairman of the NATO Military Committee was in Israel on an official visit and met with senior IDF officers, including Eisenkot, to discusses common challenges and regional developments.