The U.S. Navy is considering adding unmanned Israeli boats to its Middle East operations, a U.S. official said, a move that could deepen Israel’s growing role in regional military arrangements as it normalises ties with former foes in the Gulf.
Bahrain, home to the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet and several international naval task forces, is hosting a visit by Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, the first by any Israeli leader following the 2020 normalisation of ties between the two states.
Israel is due to become the 29th country to post an attache to the fleet’s Manama headquarters, officials said, adding the as-yet unnamed envoy would likely be of navy captain or commander rank.
It’s about keeping the lines of communication open” bilaterally between Israel and the fleet, a U.S. official said, referring to the plan to station the envoy in the Gulf kingdom.
Israel has not formally confirmed the appointment. Fleet chief Vice Admiral Brad Cooper met Bennett on Tuesday, with Bennett telling Cooper he expected “the cooperation among the region’s countries and powerful ally the United States will keep getting closer”, Bennett’s office said.