no one, at least in the U.S. military, is currently talking about reducing Washington’s security commitment to Israel. Although relations between the countries’ leaders are at a low, their armed forces have never been closer. IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi never tires of telling guests that he speaks with the U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Michael Mullen, at least once a week on the secure line between their offices.As Israel appears to be increasingly isolated diplomatically, the relationship between Western and Israeli military leaders is beginning to resemble a convenient back channel for the exchange of information on Syria as well as on Iran, Hezbollah and Islamist threats.
German shipyards are building two Dolphin class submarines for the Israel Navy, which according to foreign reports are capable of launching ballistic missiles with nuclear warheads. The German government is funding one-third of the costs of the new submarines. The three Dolphins previously delivered to Israel were funded fully by Germany.
The military know-how goes both ways. This week a new deal for the purchase of Israel Aerospace Industries Heron unmanned aerial vehicles by the Luftwaffe was announced. The deal is believed to be worth $90 million at present, with additional orders in the pipeline.
The Heron system, consisting of drones and command and control cabins, will be shipped immediately to Afghanistan.
the new German unmanned aerial vehicles will join similar Israeli-designed drones – used by Canada, Spain and the United States – in the sky, while on the ground will be combat vehicles covered in armor plating designed on Kibbutz Sasa, in the Upper Galilee.
But cooperation with Israel goes further than just the supply of hardware. Many of the forces facing threats from suicide bombers and improvised explosive devices (IEDs) operate according to doctrines adapted from those developed by the IDF when facing Hezbollah and armed Palestinian organizations.
Since the end of Operation Cast Lead more than 10 months ago Hamas has virtually ceased carrying out operations against the IDF. All of the attempted attacks have been traced to Islamic Jihad groups that flout Hamas’ authority. Like the Taliban, these groups are now being funded and trained by Al-Qaida.