The United States and Israel conduct joint training exercises every year that involve missile defense. It’s only fitting that the day before US and Israeli troops began the latest round of exercises, the American Army announced formal plans to buy Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system. Discussions surrounding the purchase have been going on for months, according to The Times of Israel, but were made official on Wednesday in a statement from the US Army.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was very pleased with the news. A Twitter post by spokesman Ofir Gendelman quoted Netanyahu as saying, “This is a great achievement & another expression of our strong alliance w/ the US. Israel has ‘Iron Dome’ & an iron fist. Our systems can deal w/ any threat, in defense & offense. I advise our enemies not to test us.”
US Army Col. Patrick Seiber, according to a statement published by CNN, said that the Iron Dome would be “assessed” as an option to protect US armed forces, amongst other options. He said no decision had been made on a specific location for assigning the Iron Dome batteries.
The Times of Israel report back in January said that the US military wanted to buy two Iron Dome batteries.
On Thursday of this week, the day after the formal purchase announcement was made, US troops began arriving in Israel for the Juniper Falcon 2019 exercise. A report on the Israeli Air Force website about the training program said that it will involve hundreds of Americans and Israelis and focuses on cooperation in missile defense.
The IDF English Twitter feed posted on Thursday about the exercise, noting that it is the “main IDF-US exercise” this year. Continued the post, “Side by side, we will strengthen our cooperation and readiness to face mutual threats.”
Netanyahu certainly understands the importance of the Israeli military. In separate comments on Thursday released by his office, the Israeli premier said, “The haters of Israel merely change; over the years they have not disappeared. There are new enemies who work to the same extent. What has changed is the State of Israel, the IDF and the readiness of the generations that fell in order to defend our state. This is a great combination that is unprecedented in the annals of other peoples; it entails loss but also great excitement.”
(By Joshua Spurlock, www.themideastupdate.com, February 7, 2019)