UK commanders join Israel's largest-ever naval exercise

Exercise includes 10 navies, including the US, Greece and France


The Royal Navy took part this week in the largest international naval exercise ever held by the Israeli navy, off the country’s Mediterranean shore. “Mighty Waves 2019” simulated the response to a major earthquake taking place in Israel.

The exercise included ten navies, mainly from Nato. In addition to Israeli missile-boats, there were ships from the United States, Greece and France. Britain’s Royal Navy — along with representatives of Canada, Germany, Italy, Cyprus and Chile — was involved at a headquarters level, with observers and experts taking part in the planning of missions.

Israeli defence officials said that with the intensifying tension in the Persian Gulf placing operational burdens on the Royal Navy, no British ships were available for the exercise but added that they would be participating in future exercises. A number of major Royal Navy warships have visited Israeli ports in recent years and military cooperation between the two countries, which has been ongoing for decades, has become much more overt.

A senior British diplomat commented: “Until a few years ago, conducting these exercises out in the open would have been unthinkable.” However, the growing under-the-radar relationship between Israel and the Arab Gulf states, which have been traditionally close to Britain, has removed much of the sensitivity regarding Israel and Britain’s military ties.

Next month, Israeli fighter-jets will arrive in Britain to participate in the annual Cobra Warrior exercise. This will be the first-ever joint exercise with the RAF.

A reciprocal visit by the RAF is expected next year in Israel for the bi-annual Blue Flag exercise, which takes place with air forces from around the world in the skies above the Negev desert.


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