U.S., Israel Launch Largest-Ever Joint Defense Exercise

October 23, 2012 11:45 am 0 comments

Israeli Defense Forces Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen, U.S. Navy, wave to onlookers at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial Museum in Jerusalem on Feb. 15, 2010. Photo: U.S. Navy.

The largest-ever joint defense exercise between the United States and Israel kicked off on Sunday and is lasting for three weeks in the Jewish state.

Austere Challenge 12 (AC12), an air and missile defense training exercise, will involve 3,500 U.S. military members and another 1,000 from the Israel Defense Forces, according to Bloomberg Businessweek.

Both countries are testing a wide-range of operational air-defense systems, as well as those still in their planning stages, including the Israeli “Arrow 2” and “Arrow 3” anti-ballistic missile systems; the American “Thaad” (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system to shoot down short, medium, and intermediate ballistic missiles) system; Israel’s “Patriot” surface-to-air missile array; Israel’s “Magic Wand” system (designed to intercept medium-to long-range rockets and slower-flying cruise missiles), and even Israel’s “Iron Dome” system (designed to intercept and destroy short-range rockets and artillery shells), which has already proven its effectiveness in the Gaza arena.

“I think it’s a very significant commitment and I’m very pleased that the United States is doing this, it’s a big event,” David Ganz, national president of the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA) and a resident of Belmont, Mass., told JNS.org. “I think that a lot can be learned on both sides, from the American side and the Israeli side.”

Israel and the U.S. have held a number of joint air defense training exercises. The last exercise to grab headlines worldwide was code-named “Juniper Cobra,” in 2009.

AC12 was originally scheduled for last spring but was postponed over regional tensions with Iran. While the Iranian nuclear threat continues, an IDF spokesman told the Jerusalem Post that the drill was “unrelated to any pinpoint developments in the region.”

Other ongoing security concerns for Israel include instability at its border with Egypt amid the era of newly elected Islamist President Mohammed Morsi, Palestinian rocket attacks from Gaza, the “Arab Spring” and the Syrian civil war.

David Harris, president of the National Jewish Democratic Council (NJDC), said in a statement that the drill is “proof of the unprecedented security cooperation taking place between the United States and Israel.”

“Through this drill and numerous others, President Barack Obama has proven yet again the he and his administration are committed to Israel’s security and to supporting the unbreakable bond our two countries have forged,” Harris said.

Obama has so far refused to set the “red lines” for military action against Iran that have been requested by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The president and his administration have repeatedly said there remains time to resolve the Iranian issue through diplomacy and economic sanctions. On Saturday, the New York Times reported that the U.S. and Iran have agreed for the first time to one-on-one negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program. The White House denied the report.

U.S. and United Nations sanctions “have not, to date, accomplished their core strategic objective of compelling Iran to verifiably limit its nuclear development to purely peaceful purposes,” a recent Congressional Research Service study said. The sanctions are, however, taking their toll on the Islamic Republic’s economy, with the Iranian rial currency dropping 40 percent.

“The [AC12] joint exercise comes when Iran is under greater pressure than ever before to make concessions to its nuclear program,” Gerald Steinberg, a political science professor at Bar Ilan University, told Bloomberg Businessweek. “This drill sends a message that the pressure will continue, and that despite strategic disagreements between Israel and the U.S. the alliance remains strong, particularly with respect to any Iranian effort to retaliate.”

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Arts and Culture Middle East Hamas Commander Reportedly Urges Hezbollah to Join Forces Against Israel

    Hamas Commander Reportedly Urges Hezbollah to Join Forces Against Israel

    JNS.org – Five months after Israeli forces tried to assassinate Hamas military commander Mohammed Deif in Gaza, Deif appears to have signed a letter that the terrorist group claims he wrote in hiding. The letter, addressed to Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah, expressed Deif’s condolences for the death of Hezbollah terrorists during Sunday’s reported Israeli airstrike in Syria. Deif is said to have survived multiple assassination attempts, but he has not been seen in public for years. According to the Hezbollah-linked Al-Manar [...]

    Read more →
  • Jewish Identity Theater Shlomo Carlebach Musical Has the Soul to Heal Frayed Race Relations

    Shlomo Carlebach Musical Has the Soul to Heal Frayed Race Relations

    JNS.org – The cracks that had been simply painted over for so long began to show in Ferguson, Mo., in November 2014, but in truth they had begun to open wide much earlier—on Saturday, July 13, 2013. That is when a jury in Sanford, Fla., acquitted George Zimmerman of culpability for the death of a 17-year-old black man, Trayvon Martin. The cracks receded from view over time, as other news obscured them. Then came the evening of Aug. 9, 2014, [...]

    Read more →
  • Theater US & Canada ‘Homeland’ Season Finale Stirs Controversy After Comparing Menachem Begin to Taliban Leader

    ‘Homeland’ Season Finale Stirs Controversy After Comparing Menachem Begin to Taliban Leader

    A controversial scene in the season finale of Homeland sparked outrage by comparing former Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin to a fictional Taliban leader, the UK’s Daily Mail reported. In the season 4 finale episode, which aired on Dec. 21, CIA black ops director Dar Adal, played by F. Murray Abraham, justifies a deal he made with a Taliban leader by referencing Begin. He makes the remarks in a conversation with former CIA director Saul Berenson, a Jewish character played by Mandy [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Spirituality/Tradition Placing Matisyahu Back Within a Life of Observance

    Placing Matisyahu Back Within a Life of Observance

    Shining Light on Fiction During the North Korea-Sony saga, we learned two important lessons. The first is that there are two sides to this story, and neither of them are correct because ultimately we should have neither inappropriate movies nor dictators. The second is that we cannot remain entirely fixed on the religious world, but we also must see beyond the external, secular view of reality. It’s important to ground our Torah-based thoughts into real-life activism. To view our act [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Blogs Nine Decades of Moses at the Movies

    Nine Decades of Moses at the Movies

    JNS.org – Hollywood has had its share of big-budget biblical flops, but until now, the Exodus narrative has not been among them. Studios have brought Moses to the big screen sparingly, but in ways that defined the image and character of Moses for each generation of audiences. The first biblical epic In 1923, director Cecil B. DeMille left it to the American public to decide the subject of his next movie for Paramount. DeMille received a letter from a mechanic [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Blogs Exodus on Screen (REVIEW)

    Exodus on Screen (REVIEW)

    JNS.org – The story of the Exodus from Egypt is a tale as old as time itself, to borrow a turn of phrase. It’s retold every Passover, both at the seder table and whenever “The Ten Commandments” is aired on television. But the latest adaptation—Ridley Scott’s epic film, “Exodus: Gods and Kings”—fails to meet expectations. Scott’s “Exodus” alters the source material to service the story and ground the tale, but the attempt to reinvent the biblical narrative becomes laughable. Moses [...]

    Read more →
  • Jewish Identity Lifestyle ‘Jewish Food Movement’ Comes of Age

    ‘Jewish Food Movement’ Comes of Age

    JNS.org - In December 2007, leaders of the Hazon nonprofit drafted seven-year goals for what they coined as the “Jewish Food Movement,” which has since been characterized by the increased prioritization of healthy eating, sustainable agriculture, and food-related activism in the Jewish community. What do the next seven years hold in store? “One thing I would like to see happen in the next seven years is [regarding] the issue of sugar, soda, and obesity, [seeing] what would it be like to rally the [...]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Education Seeds of ‘Start-Up Nation’ Cultivated by Israel Sci-Tech Schools

    Seeds of ‘Start-Up Nation’ Cultivated by Israel Sci-Tech Schools

    JNS.org – Forget the dioramas. How about working on an Israeli Air Force drone? That’s exactly the kind of beyond-their-years access enjoyed by students at the Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) industrial vocational high school run by Israel Sci-Tech Schools, the largest education network in the Jewish state. More than 300 students (250 on the high school level and 68 at a two-year vocational academy) get hands-on training in the disciplines of aviation mechanics, electricity and energy control, and unmanned air [...]

    Read more →



Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.