NAVCENT hosts Israeli Foreign Minister

By U.S. Naval Forces Central Command Public Affairs | September 04, 2023

MANAMA, Bahrain --

U.S. Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT) hosted Israel’s foreign minister, Sept. 4, for discussions on regional maritime security cooperation.

Vice Adm. Brad Cooper, commander of NAVCENT, U.S. 5th Fleet and Combined Maritime Forces, welcomed His Excellency, Mr. Eli Cohen; His Excellency Mr. Eitan Na’eh, the Israeli ambassador to Bahrain; and The Honorable Mr. Steven Bondy, U.S. ambassador to Bahrain, and other senior officials at his headquarters aboard Naval Support Activity Bahrain.

“As the Israeli Foreign Minister, I am honored to stand here today at the 5th Fleet in Bahrain,” Cohen said. “The cooperation with Israel and participation of Israel in regional security is an important outcome of the Abraham Accords. In the face of common challenges, let us remember that our shared commitment to peace and stability knows no boundaries. Together, we can chart a course towards a safer, more prosperous future for our region and beyond.”

“This visit highlights the importance of U.S. 5th Fleet’s decades-long partnership with the Kingdom of Bahrain and underscores our expanding partnership with Israel two years on from the alignment of Israel to U.S. Central Command,” said Cooper. “We are always at our best when we work together with our international partners.”

The foreign minister’s visit comes days after the two-year anniversary of Israel’s realignment under U.S. Central Command’s area of responsibility, Sept. 1, 2021.

U.S. 5th Fleet has conducted nearly 20 bilateral and multilateral engagements with Israeli forces since the realignment. Both navies have completed multiple joint patrols in the Gulf of Aqaba, Red Sea and Gulf of Aden. The Israeli Navy and U.S. 5th Fleet recently completed Exercise Intrinsic Defender in Haifa, Israel. The two-week bilateral exercise enhanced navy-to-navy cooperation and operational readiness, and included engagements on explosive ordnance disposal, mine countermeasures, maritime and global health management, underwater construction, maritime surveillance and vessel boarding procedures.

The U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations encompasses approximately 2.5 million square miles of water area and includes the Arabian Gulf, Gulf of Oman, Red Sea, parts of the Indian Ocean and three critical choke points at the Strait of Hormuz, Suez Canal and Strait of Bab al Mandeb.