The IAF practices for warfare in many distant and nearby arenas. Joint exercises and knowledge sharing with foreign air forces are strategic assets for the IAF and Israel
Two of Israel’s closest allies, US and Canada, celebrate their Independence Days this week. The tight diplomatic ties between Israel and the two countries, alongside other important countries, is a strategic asset for the State of Israel, particularly in the military arena.
The field of international relations has gone extremely active during the last years, as IAF’s ICB (International Coordination Branch) is working diligently to connect the IAF with forces around the globe.
“The connection with the IAF is sought-after in a way that could leverage the force and Israel”, says Lt. Col. Sigal Bengels, Head of ICB. “The main topic we focus on is how the international cooperation helps the IAF achieve its goals. Eventually, when foreign Air Forces come to practice with the IAF, it is a testimony to the centrality of Israel”.
“The connection with the US is based on common values”
An historic accord was signed with the US Air Force in early June 2015, officially institutionalizing the strategic cooperation between the forces.
“There is a deep, long cooperation between the Air Forces based on the fact that the US is our most significant and strong ally”, explains Col. Yaakov Sharabani, IAF Attaché to Washington. “What makes the agreement special is how it codifies everything that the IAF and USAF has been doing together and identifies new areas where we can cooperate”.
The international arena has become significantly more substantial during Operation “Protective Edge”: while fighter-jets attacked terror targets and helicopters evacuated wounded, the ICB were a part of Israel’s worldwide diplomatic endeavors.
“We broadcasted movies, presentations and photos which clarifies IAF operation methods and present the amount of effort it makes to prevent civilian casualties”, says Major Assi from ICB.
Two weeks before the operation ended, a US Army delegation arrived in Israel in order to understand the state of things. The information provided to the delegation and the conclusions they drew were all conveyed to General Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the U.S. Army.
“It is simpler to explain the situation to the military community. The Canadian Attaché to Israel, who has spent few years in Afghanistan, said to us: No other country makes the efforts you make”, concludes Lt. Col. Bengels. “All of IAF’s guests receive a thorough review on Operation ‘Protective Edge’, it is an inseparable part of our mission”.