March 4, 2022
The outgoing chief of the United States Central Command (CENTCOM) visited Israel to discuss maintaining regional stability and threats posed by Iranian threat.
General Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr, who arrived on Wednesday for the last time in his official position, was the guest of IDF Chief of Staff Lieutenant-General Aviv Kohavi, and met with President Isaac Herzog, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Defense Minister Benny Gantz on Thursday.
A statement by the Israeli prime minister said that they discussed the common security challenges facing Israel and the US, “especially Iran’s aggression in the region” as well as in Syria and Lebanon.
“The Prime Minister also stressed the real danger of the [world] powers signing the nuclear agreement [with Iran], if and when it occurs,” the statement said.
Referring to Israel’s move from the US military’s European Command (EUCOM) to CENTCOM, Gantz stressed the importance of Israel’s integration into CENTCOM, saying it “enables us to increase cooperation to maintain a more secure and stable Middle East.”
“We also discussed challenges both near and far, including Iranian regional aggression, and the developing conflict in Ukraine”, he twitted.
Asharq al-Awsat cited sources in Tel Aviv that this visit was scheduled for the end of the month, but McKenzie arrived ahead of time to witness joint drills by US and Israeli air forces over the Red Sea aimed at improving capabilities in shooting down drones by Iran-backed groups.
McKenzie will be succeeded by Lt. Gen. Michael Kurilla who currently serves as commander of the US Army 18th Airborne Corps.