CENTCOM commander visits Israel amid regional tensions

Following the wave of Iranian threats and the recent attack on a Syrian airbase, allegedly carried out by Israel, CENTCOM commander Gen. Joseph Votel is visiting Israel. During his visit, he is expected to meet with Israeli defense officials.
Votel Photo Credit: US Army

In the wake of the recent Iranian threats and the possible US withdrawal from Syria, Commander of CENTCOM Gen. Joseph Votel has arrived in Israel for an unannounced visit, Israel’s Kan broadcasting corporation reported on Monday. Votel will be visiting for several days and is expected to meet with Israeli defense officials, including IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot and head of the National Security Council Meir Ben-Shabbat.

Votel’s arrival comes at a time of heightening tensions between Israel, Iran and Syria and after the alleged Israeli attack on an airbase in Syria. In addition, Israel is currently worried about the possible evacuation of the American forces in Syria, which are under Votel’s command, following a rise in Iranian activities in the country. An Israeli official told Kan that this is Votel’s first visit to Israel.

CENTCOM’s spokesperson confirmed Votel’s visit to Israel and the IDF’s spokesperson told Kan: “The general is on a formal visit as Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot’s guest. During the visit, he will meet with officials in order to strengthen the bond between the militaries and discuss regional defense matters. This is the first time ever that the commander of the US Central Command has visited Israel.”

Over the weekend, Iran continued sending threats towards Israel. Deputy-Chief of the Revolutionary Guards Hussein Salami said that “Israel is under a threat of fire both from the north and the south and there will be no way to escape besides into the sea.” Salami also stated that “Israel has no strategic depth and it shouldn’t count on its air-force bases because they are in our missiles’ range. The US and Britain will not help because it will no longer be.”

Israeli Minister of Defense Avigdor Liberman commented on Salami’s threats the same day, “They shouldn’t test the IDF nor the State of Israel. We are prepared for any scenario. If someone is warmongering, his blood will be on his head.”



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