CENTCOM assumes responsibility for military relationship with Israel

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's military correspondent.

The United States’s Central Command (CENTCOM) officially assumes responsibility for the military’s relationship with Israel, taking over from the European Command (EUCOM), some eight months after plans for the move were announced.

“The realignment, announced by the [US] Defense Department in January strengthens the strategic US-Israeli defense relationship and offers opportunities to deepen operational collaboration between the Israel Defense Forces and CENTCOM’s many partners in the region,” CENTCOM says in a statement.

For decades, the State of Israel has been kept in the area of responsibility of EUCOM in order to prevent possible tensions between CENTCOM and the Arab and Muslim nations under its purview, many of whom did not maintain formal ties with the Jewish state.

In recent years, CENTCOM’s allies have increasingly developed relations with Israel, some informally, so these issues have largely faded. As many of these countries also share an enemy with Israel — Iran — bringing it into CENTCOM is meant to allow for easier communication and coordination between them.

“CENTCOM will now work to implement the US Government commitment to a holistic approach to regional security and cooperation with our partners. The US Government’s unwavering commitment to Israel’s security remains enduring and ironclad,” CENTCOM says.

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