The US Navy Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Ross arrived in Israel’s Ashdod on October 8 for a scheduled port visit to show the “shared U.S.-Israeli commitment to security in the region,” the US Navy said.
The USS Ross docked in an Israeli port for the first time in over 19 years. In general, foreign navies prefer northern Haifa as their Israeli port of call. Thus, the USS Ross’s arrival at Ashdod potentially signals the US interest in broadened berthing options for its Mediterranean Sixth Fleet.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu commented on the port visit on October 11 saying that this development shows US support to Israeli actions in Syria.
“This is the first visit in some 19 years by an American destroyer at the Ashdod port,” the prime minister said as he toured the ship. “There is significance to this visit; it symbolizes that deep alliance between Israel and the United States.”
He said that Israel is “determined to act to defend ourselves against the Iranian military entrenchment in Syria, and against its proxies.”
“President Trump gave full support to this policy of ours, and the fact that this destroyer is visiting here today is an expression of that American support. I think that message has been received through the Middle East,” Netanyahu said adding in an apparent reference to Russia, “and I think it has been received even beyond the Middle East.”
Previously Israeli media, experts and even top officials openly threated to destroy S-300 air defense systems, which Syria has received from Russia.