Following the Israeli Cabinet’s agreement to normalize relations with Morocco last month, the two countries announced they will establish new working groups to help foster closer ties. The teams will discuss functional fields such as investment, transportation, environment, energy, tourism.
Israel and Kosovo established formal diplomatic relations on February 1st. The Muslim-majority nation will be one of the newest embassies to open in Jerusalem. The move was condemned by the EU and by Hamas.
Israel’s security cabinet approved a funding mechanism for a multi-billion-dollar agreement with the U.S. to buy fighter aircraft, tankers, and helicopters. The government decided to pay for the aircraft with a foreign loan as recommended by the Defense Ministry rather than an alternative Finance Ministry plan.
The Israeli Defense Ministry confirmed that it plans to install 40 vertical launch slots for C-Dome on its new Sa’ar 6 corvettes. The Israeli Navy adapted C-Dome launchers from the land-based Iron Dome, both of which use Tamir surface-to-air missiles to intercept incoming short-range rockets and artillery. Plans also indicate the ships can carry 32 Barak-8 anti-aircraft missiles and 16 Gabriel V anti-ship missiles.
Israel and the U.S.
Israel and United States European Command (EUCOM) launched Juniper Falcon, a joint air defense drill. Military planners hope the exercise will improve readiness and interoperability in countering ballistic missile strikes, even as they host most of the event remotely.
United States Central Command (CENTCOM) leader Gen. Kenneth McKenzie traveled to Israel in late January, meeting with IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi, and Defense Minister Benny Gantz in Tel Aviv. According to a statement, the men discussed security priorities and challenges in the Middle East. Gatz also said he looked forward to cooperating with new regional partners, now that Israel has left EUCOM for CENTCOM.
The U.S. Senate approved an amendment that allocates funds to maintain the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem as part of a wider stimulus package. Three senators, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Tom Carper, voted against the move that reinforces the location of the embassy.
Jerusalem rejected a U.S. proposal to inspect the new Chinese built port facility in Haifa. According to press reports, the Biden administration will raise the issue again after new Israeli elections in March.
Israeli Military Technology
Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) unveiled the WASP, a new payload for aerial surveillance that uses its specialized wide field of view to track moving targets. The firm said that militaries could install the system on a wide range of equipment, from small tactical drones to larger fixed-wing aircraft.
Foreign Military Sales
Elbit won an $82 million contract to supply Iron Fist active defense systems to the Royal Netherlands Army for use on CC90 infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs). Iron Fist’s optical and radar sensors can track incoming RPGs and launch a kinetic interceptor to destroy the approaching projectile.
An unnamed Asian-Pacific country awarded Elbit a $46 million contract to supply VBTP 6X6 Armored Personnel Carriers (APCs) over the next three years.
IAI announced it had recently sold over $100 million tactical drones, including the Harop and Rotem UAVs, to multiple unnamed Asian countries.
A joint venture between Rafael and state-own Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL) will supply the Indian Navy with SHADE anti-torpedo systems. SHADE is the first of its kind that employs both softkill and hard kill decoys to intercept torpedoes aimed at submarines.