The US and Israel launched their largest joint military exercise ever on Monday.The live-fire exercise, named Juniper Oak, include 100 US aircraft with fighters, bombers and refueling aircraft flying alongside 42 Israeli aircraft. The USS George H. W. Bush carrier strike group will also take part in the exercise, which will cover all the domains of warfare to include space and electronic warfare.
“We can’t really find another (exercise) that even kind of comes close,” said a senior US defense official. Nearly 6,500 US personnel will participate in the exercise, as well as more than 1,100 Israeli personnel, the official said.
The exercise comes despite concern over the makeup of Israel’s new government under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who has appointed ministers once considered to be on the extreme nationalist fringes of Israeli politics including the far-right Otzma Yehudit party and the Noam party.