U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton traveled to Israel, meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on January 6. Bolton reassured his Israeli counterparts that the United States had no timeline for its withdrawal of forces from Syria and would still help Israel counter Iranian aggression in the region. Meanwhile, Netanyahu called on Washington to recognize Israeli sovereignty in the Golan Heights.
Reuters cited U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman as saying the release of President Trump’s Israel-Palestinian peace agreement would be delayed several months, likely due to the snap elections called in Israel.
Israeli military planners created a new reservist battalion to fight any future conflict with Hezbollah. Named Shaare Ha’esh or Gates of Fire, the unit will contain soldiers from Golani Infantry Brigade’s Reconnaissance Battalion who recently transitioned back to civilian life. According to press reports, the battalion will serve both a defensive role, protecting communities near the border with Lebanon, and maintain an offensive posture.
Foreign Military Sales
Energean Oil awarded Elbit a $15 million contract to supply a suite of protective systems for its natural gas infrastructure in the Karish-Tanin gas fields. The contract includes technologies to counter both surface and underwater threats, such as electro-optic sensors, radars, command and control systems, and rapid interception boats.
Undisclosed Israeli companies won $30 million in recent UN tenders to provide security planning and strategies to UN personnel based in Africa. A 2018 report cites Mali, the Central African Republic, and the Democratic Republic of Congo as the most dangerous places for ongoing UN operations.
Elbit won a five-year $333 million contract to renew the Israel Defense Forces’s stock of various ground-based munitions beginning in 2026.
Rafael signed a five-year agreement with Aeronautics to update and market its Orbiter loitering munitions of UAVs domestically and overseas. Rafael attempted to buy the smaller company for $115 million earlier this year. Meanwhile, a report in Janes suggests that Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) is also considering acquiring the firm.
Director-General of the Defense Ministry, Udi Adam, will travel to Zagreb this week to smooth over relationships with Croatia after the United States has delayed the sale of Israeli-upgraded F-16 Barak fighters to the country. Croatian officials said they would cancel the deal to buy the planes if Washington did not approve it by January 11.
Israeli Military Technology
IAI plans to manufacture more than 700 stealth wing skins for the U.S.-built F-35 this year after finishing a new production line for the high-tech hardware late last year.