A US B-52 strategic bomber during joint military drills with Israel. January 2023

US, Israel Conclude Largest Joint Military Drills

Friday, 01/27/2023

The United States and Israel concluded their largest-ever joint military drills, with thousands of troops, dozens of aircraft and naval vessels in and around Israel.

The drill, dubbed Juniper Oak 2023 was widely seen as a message to Iran, although US officials said the live-fire exercise did not include mockups of Iranian targets, but large American bombers did take part.

US and Israeli military ties have been expanding in recent months, as both Washington and Jerusalem pledge not to allow the Islamic Republic to acquire nuclear weapons. Negotiations to revive the Iran nuclear deal came to a deadlock last September, as Tehran continues to enrich uranium and is said to have enough fissile material for 3-4 bombs.

IDF chief Herzi Halevi said “Israel and the US share the same values, and the IDF and CENTCOM share the same outlook on the threats facing this region,” adding that the drill “raised our level of planning and implementation of combined operations.”

“Israel is capable of defending itself, but it’s always good to have our greatest partner beside us to learn from one another. This operational partnership strengthens our ability to deal with a wide range of security challenges in the region,” Halevi said in remarks published by the IDF.

“Today the partnership between CENTCOM and the IDF is stronger and continues to grow,” said General Michael Kurilla, the commander of CENTCOM. “Our partnership is a key pillar of our commitment to expanding regional security cooperation,” he added.

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