Michael Erik Kurilla, the head of the US Central Command (CENTCOM) visited Israel this week to meet with the new Chief of General Staff of Israeli military Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi.
During a visit on January 16 and 17, Kurilla spoke with the new IDF commander about regional threats, opportunities to strengthen the bilateral military relationship, and upcoming training exercises between CENTCOM forces and the IDF, read a statement released on Wednesday.
Kurilla also thanked Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi, the outgoing IDF Chief of General Staff, for his leadership and commitment to the CENTCOM-IDF partnership. The transition of Israel from the US European Command (EUCOM) area of responsibility to that of US Central Command occurred during Kochavi’s tenure. “He quickly established the foundation for a strong, abiding relationship between the IDF and CENTCOM,” the statement added.
Kurilla also met with Defense Minister Yoav Gallant at the ministry headquarters, where they discussed the importance of deepening defense and technological cooperation between their respective militaries.
Minister Gallant expressed Israel’s commitment to expand ties with CENTCOM amid ongoing attacks by Iran and its terrorist proxies on sovereign nations – such as Lebanon’s Hezbollah against Israel or the Houthi movement in Yemen on Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates – as part of the Islamic Republic’s efforts to destabilize the region.
CENTCOM’s head also visited the Israel Air Force headquarters and Air Operations Center where IAF leadership presented him with detailed briefings, demonstrations of IAF capabilities and advancements, updates on regional threats and opportunities, and an overview of integrated air and missile defense.