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Kohavi to visit unnamed Arab nation next week in 1st formal trip there by IDF chief

Destination barred from publication until top soldier lands on Monday; nation said to be one with official relations with Israel, including in military matters

Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian is The Times of Israel's military correspondent.

IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi at a memorial ceremony marking 8 years since the 2014 Gaza war, known as Operation Protective Edge, at the National Memorial Hall in Jerusalem, July 10, 2022. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)
IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi at a memorial ceremony marking 8 years since the 2014 Gaza war, known as Operation Protective Edge, at the National Memorial Hall in Jerusalem, July 10, 2022. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

Israel Defense Forces chief Lt. Gen. Aviv Kohavi is slated to travel to an Arab country next week on a first-ever official trip.

The military censor said Friday that the trip could be reported, albeit with restrictions.

The name of the country is to remain barred from publication until Kohavi lands in the Arab nation, on Monday.

Israel has been holding official relations with the country recently, including in military-related matters, according to Hebrew-language military correspondents, who are regularly briefed off the record by senior Israeli officials.

The three-day trip will be the first time an Israeli military chief officially visits the country, the reports said.

Earlier this year, Kohavi traveled to Bahrain on a first official trip. Also during that visit, Kohavi reportedly met with his Qatari counterpart, despite limited relations between the countries.

(L-R) Tal Kelman, head of the Strategic Division of the IDF Planning Directorate, IDF chief Aviv Kohavi, Bahraini Defense Force chief Theyab bin Saqr al-Nuaimi and other Bahraini defense officials are seen during a meeting in Bahrain, March 10, 2022. (Israel Defense Forces)

Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Morocco normalized relations with Israel in 2020.

In March, senior Israeli military officials wrapped up a first official trip to Morocco, where the sides signed an accord that aimed to have the two militaries collaborate.

Last month, Israeli officers and Defense Ministry officials participated in a major military drill in Morocco, as observers.

Two Israeli officers are seen at the 2022 ‘African Lion’ drill held in Morocco and nearby nations, June 2022. (Royal Moroccan Armed Forces)

The UAE and Bahrain, meanwhile, have participated in several joint exercises with the Israeli military.

The reason for the censorship on Kohavi’s trip destination was not immediately clear. Several journalists have violated the order by strongly hinting at the country’s name on Twitter.

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