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Press Release | Nov. 16, 2022

U.S. Central Command Engaged with Israeli Defense Forces


Nov. 16, 2022

Release Number 20221116-03


Tel Aviv, Israel – General Michael “Erik” Kurilla, commander of U.S. Central Command, made his fourth visit to the Israeli Defense Forces in Israel, Nov. 15, 2022, since assuming command of CENTCOM seven months ago.

During the visit, Kurilla, alongside commanding general of the IDF Northern Command, Major General Ori Gordin, visited the Rosh HaNikra crossing point on the Blue Line between Israel and Lebanon and the Alpha Line between Israel and Syria on the Golan Heights. Gordin presented Kurilla with an overview of the security challenges along each border, the threat posed by Hezbollah in the area, and the IDF focus on security.

Kurilla also visited an observation post overlooking the Golan Heights, where Gordin briefed him on munitions and explosives smuggling routes between Lebanon and Syria. From there, the leaders visited the Astra Observation Post overlooking Shebba Valley.

At the Northern Command headquarters in Safed, Kurilla received a threat briefing and had a discussion on recent operations across the region with the following IDF leaders:

•           Lieutenant General Aviv Kohavi, IDF Chief of the General Staff;

•           Major General Ori Gordin; IDF Northern Command

•           Major General Hidai Zilberman, Defense Attaché to the US;

•           Major General Oded Basiuk IDF Senior Operations Officer; and

•           Major General Tal Kelman, senior IDF Planning and Cooperation Officer.

Alongside Lieutenant General Aviv Kohavi, IDF Chief of the General Staff; Commanding Officer of the Israeli Air Force, Major General Tomer Bar; and Brigadier General Gilad Keinan, Nevatim Air Force Base commander; Kurilla also visited the Nevatim Air Force Base southeast of Be’er Sheva and the 116th “Lions of the South” Squadron, which operates the F-35i “Adir” aircraft.

“Israel maintains a remarkably impressive airpower capability here in the Nevatim Air Force Base,” Kurilla said. “The Israeli Air Force maintains world-class air power with cutting-edge systems, the highest level of professionalism, and a first-class combat capability.”

Throughout the visit, General Kurilla and the IDF leaders discussed opportunities to improve integrated air and missile defense and regional security. Kurilla reaffirmed CENTCOM’s commitment to the IDF – U.S. military partnership.

“Our strategic partnerships within the region – to include our longstanding, ironclad partnership with the IDF – are critical to regional security and stability. All these trips to the region inform my understanding of the threats and challenges faced by each country and the capabilities available. This visit – my fourth to Israel in seven months – reinforced the importance of this relationship and the many opportunities ahead of us for the Middle East,” said Kurilla.