US and Israeli officers broke ground in Israel on September 13 for a permanent US Army base that will house dozens of US soldiers, Defense News reported.
According to Israeli officials, the US base will be an independent facility co-located at the Israeli Defense Forces Air Defense School in southern Israel, near Beersheba. Once completed, the base will house US operational systems to identify and intercept a spectrum of aerial threats, along with barracks, recreational and other facilities.
“A few dozens of soldiers of our American allies will be stationed here permanently. They are part of an American task force that will be stationed here,” said Israeli Air Force Brigadier General Zvika Haimovich, the IDF‘s air defense commander.
According to Haimovich, the co-located, permanent US presence is there to enhance Israel’s ability to detect and defend against the rocket and missile threats. “The purpose of their presence is not for training or for exercises, but rather as part of a joint Israeli and American effort to sustain and enhance our defensive capabilities.”
“This life support area represents the first ever stationing of a U.S. Army unit on Israeli soil,” said Major General John Gronski, deputy commanding general of the Army National Guard in US Army Europe. “The U.S. and Israel have long planned together, exercised together, trained together. And now, with the opening of this site, these crucial interactions will occur every day. We’ll have Israeli airmen, US soldiers living and working side by side.”
As the situation in the region escalates, the base is expected to help Israel defend against the rocket and missile threats from Hezbollah. The move also shows a US commitement to support Israel in case of a new conflict in the region.