Report: Jordanian Air Force Pilots Came to Israel on 'Cooperation Visit'

One pilot who refused has been fired with no severance pay, Jordanian media report.

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A Royal Jordanian Air Force plane takes off from an air base to strike ISIS in the Syrian city of Raqqa, Feb. 5, 2015.
A Royal Jordanian Air Force plane takes off from an air base to strike ISIS in the Syrian city of Raqqa, Feb. 5, 2015.Credit: AP
Gili Cohen
Jack Khoury

Jordanian pilots were hosted in Israel recently as part of their role in the country’s air force, but one refused to come and has been fired, according to Jordanian media reports.

The report of the sacking has raised objections on Jordanian social media. The pilot, Majdi Asmadi, said he joined the air force to fight Israel, not visit it or collaborate with it.

A Facebook posting by his cousin, an Al Jazeera journalist, said Jordan and Israel were cooperating militarily. In reports on the ousting of Asmadi, there was criticism that the Jordanian military was holding joint maneuvers with Israel.

Asmadi was also reportedly fired with no compensation or benefits, and with no official announcement about his sacking or his colleagues’ visit to Israel.

Israeli website Mako reported Wednesday that protests were appearing on Jordanian social media over the issue. On Facebook, there were postings praising Asmadi and his statement about fighting Israel, not visiting it.

Israel has not responded to the reports, but in the past a senior officer said relations between the Israeli and Jordanian defense establishments were good.

In August, both countries’ air forces took part in joint maneuvers at a U.S. air base in Nevada. There were reports in the Jordanian and American media that Israeli jets refueled Jordanian planes on the way to the exercise.

At the end of October, Israeli took part in a large exercise with air forces from countries including the United States, Poland and Greece.

According to the Israeli air force, 32 Israelis were among the dozens of foreign air crew members taking part in the maneuvers. There were 34 international observers, including ones from Canada, Britain, the Czech Republic, Germany, Romania and France.

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