The United States and Israel have begun a joint aerial drill. According to a statement by the Israel military the two-week “Juniper Stallion 13” aerial exercise began Sunday morning.
An undisclosed number of F-15 and F-16 fighter jets from both sides are participating in the training event. It’s held at Uvda Base in the southern Negev Desert, during which pilots will practice air-to- air combat maneuvers, mid-air refueling, bombing runs and other missions.
The United States European Command (EUCOM) is involved in the aerial war games which will focus air-to- air combat maneuvers, mid-air refueling, bombing runs and other missions.
The exercise comes after a two-day visit to Israel on July 14 by EUCOM’s Commander General Philip M. Breedlove.
"The combined exercise is designed to improve the interoperability and cooperation between the Israeli and U.S. air forces, and has been planned for more than a year," an Israeli military source told Xinhua.
The U.S. is Israel's biggest ally and international supporter. It supports Tel Aviv financially, militarily and diplomatically. Washington is providing billions of dollars of military aid to Tel Aviv annually.
During Fiscal Year 2013, the U.S. is providing Israel with at least $8.5 million per day in military aid.
Meanwhile Times of Israel has reported that “Israel would receive $3.4 billion in total military aid under the 2014 U.S. budget proposal sent to Congress by President Barack Obama”. The proposal is inclusive of “$3.1 billion in general military aid for Israel, similar to 2013, plus a separate request for $220 million to finance the Iron Dome anti-rocket defense system.”
“Obama's 2014 proposal also allocates $96 million for joint U.S.-Israel research and development projects, including the David's Sling and Arrow missile defense systems. The overall budget proposal that Obama submitted to Congress on Wednesday totalled $3.8 trillion.”
If Americans Knew website (http://ifamericansknew.org/stats/usaid.html) reports that “Beginning in 2007, the U.S. has increased military aid by $150 million each year. Beginning 2012, we will be sending Israel $3.1 billion a year (or an average of $8.5 million a day) and will continue to provide military aid at that level through 2018. U.S. tax dollars are subsidizing one of the most powerful foreign militaries.”
In Israel’s last two wars on the Gaza Strip alone, Operation Cast Lead (27 December 2008- 18 January 2009) and November 2012, hundreds of civilians, including many women and children were killed.
In addition to financial and military aid, the U.S. has vetoed over 40 UN resolutions that have been critical of Israel and its policies towards Palestine.