Top US military general for Middle East meets senior Israeli military, defense officials to discuss regional threats

The top US military general for the Middle East met with senior Israeli military and defense officials this week to discuss regional threats, the United States Central Command (CENTCOM) said Wednesday.

Gen. Erik Kurilla met with the new Israeli Defense Forces chief of general staff and the outgoing chief of staff in Tel Aviv to discuss common threats, ways to strengthen ties between the two militaries and an upcoming joint training exercise.

The meetings, which took place on Monday and Tuesday, were also a chance for Kurilla to thank Aviv Kohavi, the outgoing chief of general staff, for his commitment to the CENTCOM-IDF partnership. Under Kohavi, Israel was transferred from the US European Command area of responsibility to CENTCOM, allowing more coordination with its Arab neighbors.

“Kohavi quickly established the foundation for a strong, abiding relationship between the IDF and CENTCOM,” a statement from CENTCOM read.

The CENTCOM commander also met with Israel’s new defense minister, Yoav Gallant, where discussions focused on deepening defense and technological cooperation.

Kurilla also stopped at the Israel Air Force headquarters, receiving briefings, demonstrations of Israeli military capabilities, updates on regional threats, and “an overview of integrated air and missile defense.”

Washington has been pushing for an integrated missile and air defense system among Israel and its Arab neighbors in the face of growing Iranian threats. Bomb-laden drones and unmanned aerial vehicles have been a strength of Tehran’s in recent years, and the Pentagon believes that sharing of intel and coordination can help better counter these threats.

National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan is scheduled to fly to Tel Aviv today, where he will spend a few days meeting with the new Israeli government.

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