IDF chief-of-staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi on Thursday told General Michael Kurilla during US CENTCOM chief’s visit to Israel, that the IDF is closely following Iran’s heightened aggression. Further, Halevi stated that the allied countries must deepen their cooperation especially at this tense moment in order to deter any further escalation.
“We are following the changes in the region, with an emphasis on the escalating aggression of Iranian terror. Specifically, during this sensitive period, there is even greater significance to a deeper military connection between the militaries,” said the IDF chief.
He added, “We will continue our cooperation and our joint commitment to the security of the Middle East.”
Likewise, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant emphasized that “Israel views Iran’s progress toward obtaining a nuclear weapon with severity.”
Without specifying how, Gallant said that the sides had committed to further advancing their joint operations and intelligence sharing.
One possibility of new areas of joint operations and intelligence sharing could be specific issues of concern to Israel where the US’s capabilities could be helpful should Jerusalem at some point need to launch a preemptive strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities.
In light of the advancements in those areas since Israel joined CENTCOM in September 2021, it would be interesting to know more specifics about how new improvements can be achieved beyond what has already been achieved through April of this year – though the statement could also just mean continuing the increased cooperation since 2021.
Kurilla said, “like every visit with the IDF, I was also impressed during this visit with the IDF’s thoroughness in preparations for war. The special military relations we have with Israel remain strong.”
What has happened during the CENTCOM visit?
During the visit, the commander of Shayetet 13, Israel’s navy seals, and American officials on behalf of the US navy seals, described the capabilities and activities of the mirror commando outfits.
The sides also engaged in sharing their updated security intelligence pictures for the region.
Other top officials participating in the meeting included: IDF Strategic Affairs Commander Maj. Gen. Tal Kalman, IDF Liaison to Washington Maj. Gen. Hedi Zilberman and Defense Ministry Policial-Security Division Chief Dror Shalom.
In the coming weeks, the IDF deputy chief and the CENTCOM deputy chief are due to hold a follow-up meeting with additional depth regarding the same issues discussed Thursday by the chiefs.
Last month, the countries conducted a significant joint naval exercise at the Bab-el-Mandeb Strait near Yemen.
In January, then IDF chief Lt. Gen. Aviv Kohavi told the Jerusalem Post, “You have no idea what type of strong affinity [Mark] Milley, CENTCOM chief [Gen. Michael] Kurilla and [Gen. Kenneth] McKenzie before him, have to the State of Israel and the Jewish people. It is powerful and inspiring. So they also are convinced. I can tell you that behind the 1,000 Iron Dome interceptors were the ties we have with the US military and with Milley. The decision not to delist the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps from the US terror list was also because of our relationship with the US military.”