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NATO general visits Israel after stops in Egypt, Jordan

Chairman of organization’s military committee meets with IDF deputy chief of staff, top generals

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's religions and Diaspora affairs correspondent.

Gen. Petr Pavel speaks during the Munich Security Conference in 2016. (Zwez/MSC/Wikimedia/CC BY 3.0)
Gen. Petr Pavel speaks during the Munich Security Conference in 2016. (Zwez/MSC/Wikimedia/CC BY 3.0)

A top NATO official visited Tel Aviv on Wednesday to meet with Israel Defense Forces generals and discuss “shared challenges and regional developments,” the army said.

Gen. Petr Pavel, chairman of NATO’s military committee, was the guest of IDF Deputy Chief of Staff Maj. Gen. Yair Golan. For the past two years Golan has participated in the annual NATO Chief of Staffs Conference.

Pavel is also slated to meet with IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot, Head of Military Intelligence Maj. Gen. Herzl Halevi and head of IDF operations Maj. Gen. Nitzan Alon, the army said.

On Monday the Czech NATO general visited Egypt, then traveled to Jordan on Tuesday and met with Lt. Gen. Mahmoud Freihat, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff of the Jordanian Armed Forces.

Also on Monday, the head of the US’s European Command landed in Israel to meet with Israeli generals.

In addition to head of US EUCOM, Scaparrotti also serves as NATO’s supreme allied commander.

Israel has been a partner of NATO since 1994. From 2010 to 2016, its attempts to open an official mission at the organization’s headquarters in Brussels were stymied by Turkey.

This followed an incident in which Israeli commandos stormed a Turkish aid ship bound for Gaza, leaving 10 activists dead after the soldiers were attacked with clubs and metal bars. The raid led to years of bad blood, but the sides were reconciled last year.

After Jerusalem and Ankara reached an agreement, Turkey withdrew its opposition to the Israeli mission, which opened on January 16, 2017.

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