The nations of Greece, Israel, Cyprus and France are now taking part in their annual joint military exercises, involving both naval vessels and helicopters, called “Noble Dina.”
The navies of the four powers practiced anti-submarine warfare and search and rescue operations together in an effort to maintain and strengthen control in the eastern Mediterranean.
The Israeli Navy participated in the Noble Dina war games by sending its Sa’ar 4.5-class missile frigates which have anti-submarine systems. Israel’s “Dolphin 2”-class submarines also took part in the maneuvers.
Strengthening existing collaboration between the countries
The Greek naval spokesman said that the exercises in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Cretan Sea were part of strengthening the existing collaboration between the navies of the four nations and addressing the current “challenges and threats” in the eastern Mediterranean.
Along with the current atmosphere of ongoing tension in the eastern Mediterranean, sparked by continued incursions of Turkish vessels onto Greek and Cypriot national waters, Israel expanded its exclusive economic zone out to 150 miles, from 40 miles, four years ago.
Joint military exercises are “of utmost importance”
While Greece, Israel and Cyprus often cooperate in naval and other military drills, the Noble Dina exercise marked the first time that the nation of France participated with the three other Mediterranean nations.
Apart from the ongoing issues with Turkey, the February oil spill, which Israeli officials have linked to Iran, has heightened an awareness that economic terrorism may be a weapon used by some nations.
Israeli Rear Admiral Eyal Harel, head of Naval Operations, stated on Friday that “These drills are of utmost importance to strengthen the Israeli Navy’s relations with foreign navies of shared interests.”
Greece, Israel strategic partnership “significant”
When Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis met with Israel PM Benjamin Netanyahu on February 8, the two Mediterranean leaders spoke of security issues that have cropped up in the region of late.
The Greek PM stated afterward in their press conference that the new strategic partnership between the nations was “significant.” He then added that the Mediterranean “must remain a sea of peace for all countries.”
Praising the deepening of the ties between the two countries, Mitsotakis also said that Greece was “happy to have an Israeli company take over flight training in Greece for the next twenty years.” To be based in Kalamata, this operation, the Greek PM stated, will be the “most clear example of the partnerships we can build in defense” between Greece and Israel.