JERUSALEM, Israel - Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak approved IDF (Israel Defense Forces) participation in a NATO exercise that will take place in the Mediterranean.
Barak, IDF Chief of General Staff Gabi Ashkenazi and commander of the Navy Adm. Eliezer Marom made the decision to send an Israeli ship to the exercise, though they have yet to decide which ship will participate.
In the past, Israel has sent officers to exercises, but, pending NATO approval, this will be the first time an Israeli ship and crew will participate actively in an operation.
Last year, an Israeli navy intelligence officer took part in a meeting at NATO's Active Endeavor operation base in Naples, where participants exchanged information on counter-terror operations at sea.
Active Endeavor, which was formed after the September 2001 terror attacks on the World Trade Center, has boarded 148 ships and monitored more than 100,000 merchant vessels.
On Wednesday, the INS Lahav joined American and Turkish ships for the annual Reliant Mermaid search-and-rescue exercise.
Source: The Jerusalem Post