Minister Hennis visits Israel

Minister of Defence Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert arrived in Israel yesterday, where she will remain until tomorrow to confirm the good relations between Israel and the Netherlands in the area of defence.

This morning, she discussed the current military cooperation with her Israeli counterpart Minister Moshe Ya'alon.

The defence ministers signed a declaration stating their commitment to reaching agreements on the status of deployed military personnel and on implementation aspects, such as finance.

4 missions

Minister Hennis-Plasschaert then met a number of Dutch military personnel who are active in the region. The Netherlands is currently supplying personnel to 4 missions in the area:

  • United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO);
  • United States Security Coordinator (USSC);
  • Multinational Force and Observers (MFO) and
  • United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF).

She talked to the Dutch servicemen about the importance of the missions, security and multinational cooperation. She also visited the Yad Vashem memorial centre, where she laid a wreath and signed the visitors' book.

Cooperation

The Netherlands and Israel are currently working together in a number of fields. The Commando Corps, for example, will again make use of Israeli training facilities for a few weeks this year, as it did in 2012. There is also exchange of knowledge taking place:

  • about technical aspects of remote controlled aircraft/Unmanned Aerial Vehicles;
  • about measures against improvised explosives (lEDs) and
  • about cyber-related matters.

Furthermore, there is mutual participation in courses, training and seminars.

These activities are in line with Dutch government policy in relation to Israel and are conducted within the internationally recognised borders of both countries.

Israel Defense Forces

Tomorrow, Hennis will visit the defence electronics firm Elbit and one of the branches of Israeli Aerospace Industries. Both companies are involved in the production of the F-35 fighter aircraft, which Israel, like the Netherlands, will also buy.

Israel has a modern military (Israel Defense Forces) with a peacetime establishment of 176,500 personnel. Its budget for 2013 was EUR 10 billion, which is 7% of the country's GNP. (The Netherlands currently spends 1.16 % of its GNP on defence.)

The Israeli army has about 3,500 tanks, including 600 of the modern Merkava III and IV types, while the air force has 800 combat aircraft and 280 helicopters. Israel's navy operates corvettes and submarines.