Defense Minister Benny Gantz conducted a secret five-day trip to Singapore last week, which included security-related meetings.
Gantz’s destination is still ostensibly under a gag order, but several media outlets including Yedioth Ahronoth and Haaretz published the matter over the weekend.
Gantz’s office had initially said Sunday that the location would be okayed for publication after his return on Thursday. But then Thursday, the Defense Ministry said the matter had been barred for publication indefinitely.
It was not clear why Gantz’s destination had been placed under gag order, as Israel and Singapore have long enjoyed open relations. And former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with his counterpart in the small Asian country in 2017.
Sources involved in the matter told The Times of Israel’s sister site Zman Yisrael that it was Singapore that had asked to keep the meeting under wraps, with Israel apparently complying with the request.
There was no information on the meeting in Singaporean media.
Still, even after Yedioth Ahronoth and Haaretz circumvented the censorship order on Friday, the Israel Defense Forces military censor still continued to bar other media outlets from publishing the details.
The two countries established diplomatic relations in 1969, but have ties dating back to 1965, when Israeli military advisers covertly assisted Singapore after its declaration of independence.
Singapore is Israel’s second-largest export destination in Asia after India, which is said to also include arms, considering a significant portion of Israel’s exports is defense-related.
The Singapore Air Force’s 116th squadron uses Hermes 450 drones, manufactured by the Israeli Elbit Systems defense contractor.
Israeli arms giant Rafael Advanced Defense Systems has also previously attended the Singapore Airshow, where it once unveiled a new laser defense system.
Agencies contributed to this report.