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Israel expresses interest in NATO-like Mideast alliance

The memorandum of understanding Defense Minister Benny Gantz signed yesterday with Bahrain, constitutes another step in Israel’s efforts to establish an anti-Iran regional alliance.
Israel's Foreign Minister Yair Lapid speaks during a joint press conference with his Bahraini counterpart in the capital Manama, Bahrain, Sept. 30, 2021.
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Israel and its moderate allies in the region “must build a new strategic alliance” to block Iran’s continued expansion in the region, former Israeli Minister Brig. Gen. (Res.) Ephraim Lapid told Al-Monitor’s "On Israel" podcast last week. And that is precisely what Israel is doing, at an accelerated pace, as reflected in this week’s visit to Bahrain, on Feb. 3, by Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz to sign a security cooperation agreement between the two countries.

It was the second such pact with an Arab country in recent months, following Gantz’s signing of a similar deal with Morocco during a late November visit to Rabat. A week ago, a delegation of senior Israeli security experts reportedly visited the United Arab Emirates to examine how Israel could help the kingdom with advance warning and interception of missiles and drones launched at its territory by Iranian-backed Houthi forces from Yemen.

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