Israel hides participation in major military exercise with UAE and U.S.

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By Middle East Affairs

The Israel Air Force is taking part in a joint exercise in Greece with the air forces of the United Arab Emirates and the United States, but has avoided publicizing it.

The IAF has previously taken part in the exercise in Greece, but this is the first time Israel is not appearing on the Hellenic Air Force website under the exercise’s press release. Other nations attending — and publicized — are Italy, the United Kingdom, Cyprus, the United States and the United Arab Emirates.

Israel isn’t on the participant list, and as news agency Haaretz first pointed out: “Nor does Israel’s flag appear in the group photo and Youtube video clip in which the flags of all the participating countries are shown next to an array of the countries’ planes.”

Haaretz points to the fact that in past years Israel’s participation was widely publicized.

“There is a hint of Israel’s involvement, however, in the patch worn by the pilots on their flight suits,” Haaretz observes, “where Israel’s flag can be seen along with the flags of the other countries.”

IAF F-16 jet fighters and dozens of international planes are participating in the annual exercise.

Last November eight countries took part in the Blue Flag exercise at Uvda Air Base in southern Israel. In that exercise, the air forces of the United States, Germany, France, Italy, Poland, Greece and India joined the IAF.

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