General Petr Pavel, Chairman of the NATO Military Committee, landed in Israel on Wednesday on an official visit to meet and discusses common challenges and regional developments with Major General Yair Golan.
The visit aims highlight the existing cooperation and to strengthen the relationship between Israel and NATO, read a statement by the IDF.
During his visit, Gen.Pavel will visit several bases around the country and meet with senior IDF officials including Chief of Staff, Lt. Gen. Gadi Eizenkot, Military Intelligence, Maj. Gen. Herzl Halevi, and Head of Operations Gen. Nitzan Alon.
Israel has been a member of NATO’s Middle East Dialogue since 1994, and in January Roni Leshno Yaar, the first Israeli representative to the organization, submitted his credentials to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg when Israel opened its first ever office there.
As part of the ongoing collaboration, there is ongoing dialogue between the military branches and agencies and other organizations under NATO, with IDF representatives participating in exercises undertaken by the organization, such as a January 2016 field exercise in Montenegro.
After the breakdown of ties with Turkey six years ago, Ankara exerted efforts to isolate Jerusalem from military cooperation with NATO. But following the reconciliation deal, Ankara withdrew its longstanding veto against Jerusalem being accepted as a partner nation to the organization, not a member.
His visit comes as the head of the US Army’s European Command, Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti, is in Israel. On Tuesday Scaparrotti toured the Arrow missile interception system at the Palmahim Air Force Base in central Israel as well as a tour of a captured Hamas tunnel. Scaparrotti also serves as supreme allied commander of NATO in Europe.
Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman is currently in Washington meeting with several senior US officials in the Trump Administration including his US counterpart Gen.James Mattis.
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