Sec. Hagel Meets with Israeli Counterpart; Provides V-22 Test Drive

— by Sara Fried

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel met with Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon during his first official visit to Washington on Friday. In April, Hagel announced that the Obama Administration would provide Israel with the V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft “as part of an unprecedented package of advanced military capabilities that will increase Israel’s qualitative military edge.”

According to the Department of Defense, Yaalon flew to the Pentagon in the V-22, and “Yaalon and his delegation experienced some of the Osprey’s unique capabilities as Israel plans to incorporate the aircraft into future military planning.”

More after the jump.
During his visit to Washington, Yaalon also spoke before the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. He praised Secretary Hagel’s remarks to the Institute six weeks earlier:

What was expressed in Secretary Hagel’s briefing here is the bond between the United States and the State of Israel, based on common interests and common values, and I can tell you that…we have established intimate, earnest dialogue between us… for the benefit of our two countries. And today, my visit is part of these ongoing discussions which has to be done frequently according to the changes in our neighborhood, the Middle East.

Yaalon further emphasized the commonalities between the United States and Israel, and the role of the United States in working with Israel.

Department of Defense photo by Eric A. Kirk-Cuomo.

Veterans Day: Americans Visit Israel To Thank IDF Soldiers

FIDF supporters from the Ohio Region on the FIDF National Mission to Israel, standing next to one of the airplanes that participated in the attack of the Iraqi nuclear base in the 80’s. Photo credit Einav Rimon

TEL AVIV- November 11, 2012 – Over 50 prominent Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) lay leaders and supporters from the United States embarked on a unique seven-day journey to Israel as part of the FIDF National Mission to Israel to show their appreciation and support for Israel’s soldiers. The delegation arrived in Tel Aviv last Sunday, November 4th, 2012.

The FIDF mission, which was primarily aimed at acquainting participants with the IDF and its brave men and women in uniform, provided participants with the opportunity to spend time with IDF soldiers on various military bases across Israel. The group met with soldiers from several elite IDF bases, including the Machva Alon Educational base and the famous Nevatim Air Force base, where they met F-16 pilots. Mission participants were also given a special tour of the Gaza Border Region.

The group met with several top-level government and IDF officials, including the IDF Chief of the General Staff, Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz, at his official Briefing Room, and Lt. Gen. (Res.) Moshe (Bogie) Ya’alon, Israel’s Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Strategic Affairs, and the IDF’s 17th Chief of the General Staff.

More after the jump.

FIDF supporters at an IDF Air Force Base. Photo credit: Einav Rimon.

“The Friends of the IDF delegation which has embarked on this important journey to Israel signifies the deeply rooted connection between the Jewish people, the State of Israel, and the brave soldiers who serve to protect it,”

said FIDF National Director and CEO, Maj. Gen. (Res.) Yitzhak (Jerry) Gershon.

This extraordinary mission to Israel culminated with a special FIDF ceremony, saluting the IDF commanders, at the Palmachim Air Force base. Hundreds of soldiers, FIDF supporters, and members of the IDF general staff, including IDF Chief of the General Staff, Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz, came together for an evening of celebration of and gratitude for Israel’s soldiers and the hard work they endure to protect the Jewish homeland and its people around the world.

Among the mission participants were FIDF National Chairman, Nily Falic; FIDF National Director and CEO, Maj. Gen. (Res.) Yitzhak (Jerry) Gershon; and FIDF National President, Julian Josephson.

FIDF Mission participants with IDF soldiers on a base in the South of Israel.