Joint IDF-US military activity to be ‘significantly expanded’ - Kohavi

Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kohavi cut short his final visit to Washington after the deadly bombings in Jerusalem.

 IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi pictured during his trip to the United States in November 2022 (photo credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)
IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi pictured during his trip to the United States in November 2022
(photo credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)

Joint activity with US Central Command will greatly expand, Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kohavi said following his final visit to the US as IDF chief of staff.

“To improve our capabilities toward the challenges in the region, joint activity with CENTCOM will be significantly expanded in the near future. At the same time, the IDF will continue to act at an accelerated rate against the entrenchment of the Iranian regime in the region,” he said.

Kohavi returned from the US on Thursday after cutting short his visit by one day following the double bombing in Jerusalem that killed a 16-year-old yeshiva student.

During the last days of his visit, Kohavi visited the US Navy Fleet Forces Command headquarters in Norfolk, Virginia, accompanied by the commander of the US Fleet Forces Command, Adm. Daryl Caudle. Kohavi toured a nuclear submarine and an aircraft carrier to deepen his understanding of their operational capabilities.

On Tuesday, he participated in a situational assessment at the CENTCOM Coalition in Tampa, Florida, and held work meetings with the CENTCOM Commander Gen. Michael “Erik” Kurilla.

 IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi pictured during his trip to the United States in November 2022 (credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT) IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi pictured during his trip to the United States in November 2022 (credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)

“During the assessment, a plan for the continuation of the joint activity and the establishment of dedicated teams to deal with the Iranian challenge was agreed upon.”

Israel Defense Forces

The IDF said the joint situational assessment held between the militaries focused on regional challenges, primarily Iran.

“During the assessment, a plan for the continuation of the joint activity and the establishment of dedicated teams to deal with the Iranian challenge was agreed upon,” the IDF said.

Israel, US increasing military cooperation amid Iranian threat

Israel’s move to CENTCOM’s area of responsibility is believed to not only simplify the cooperation with American troops in the region but can also create the potential for a regional coalition with Arab countries that have normalized ties with Israel against shared threats posed by Iran.

The increased cooperation with CENTCOM, and possibly even the Gulf states, is expected to give Israel a leg up in terms of dealing with the threat posed by Tehran.

 IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi pictured during his trip to the United States in November 2022 (credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT) IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi pictured during his trip to the United States in November 2022 (credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)

Iran’s increasing hostility has been a main concern for Israel and regional countries. During his last visit to Washington last year, Kohavi discussed expanding and increasing military coordination with CENTCOM forces in terms of intelligence-sharing and defensive operational activities.

In the last year, IDF and CENTCOM forces have held several joint drills and operational missions.

Kurilla also visited Israel earlier in the month, meeting with Kohavi and other senior officers.

“We are operating together on all fronts to gather intelligence, neutralize threats and prepare for various scenarios in either one or multiple arenas,” Kohavi said during the visit.

Earlier in the week, Kohavi met with senior members of the US defense institutions at the Pentagon, at CIA headquarters and at the White House. He also met with Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley, Israeli Ambassador Michael Herzog, US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and CIA Director William J. Burns.

During his meeting with Milley on Monday, the US general awarded him with the Legion of Merit for “deepening the strategic partnership between Israel and the US.”

“Kohavi exemplified the spirit of collaboration and cooperation in furthering the strategic partnership of the United States and the State of Israel,” the text of the award read. “Kohavi solidified Israel’s status as a capable and effective regional security leader in the Middle East. Kohavi clearly established and shared Israel’s strategic defense objectives, in close alignment with US national interests and strategic objectives.”