German air defenses commander Maj. Gen. Robert Loebenstein is visiting Israel currently as an observer at the joint U.S.-Israeli military exercise Juniper Cobra, which simulates a wide-ranging missile attack on Israel.
On Monday night, Loebenstein gave an award to the Israeli Air Force's outgoing air defenses commander Brig. Shahar Shochet. He lauded the cooperation between the armies of the two countries, which, he said, had expanded recently, particularly since 2014, according to the air force's website.
Military cooperation between Israel and the German army has included joint exercises and regular official meetings between senior officers.
In recent years, Germany has transferred four Patriot PAC-2 batteries from its surplus stocks to Israel. German Patriot batteries were also transferred to Israel, without remuneration, during the Second Gulf War.
Troops from the German army participated in urban warfare training with IDF forces at the Tze'elim training ground in the Negev last October. About 100 German soldiers and five heavy vehicles participated in the exercise, which was regarded as the largest joint exercise ever conducted by the two countries.
German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen has said in the past that no other country shares such close military links with Germany as does Israel.
Germany recently decided to buy Heron TO unmanned aircraft from the Israel Aircraft Industries. Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon thanked Germany for making the purchase during a meeting with his German counterpart about 10 days ago, describing it as "the right choice."
Ya'alon also referred to the financial assistance provided by Germany for Israel's purchases of submarines and ships to defend maritime gas fields. "This is testimony to the deep ties between Germany and Israel and between the security establishments of both countries," he said.
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