Jerusalem – What did not work out with the Turks, worked out with the Italians: The Israeli Air Force (IAF) held a joint exercise last week with the Italian Air Force in the Sardinia area.

Twelve IAF planes took part in the exercise, which was planned several months ago, including five F-15i planes, five F-16i planes, a Boeing 707 refueling plane and a Hercules that flew teams and technical equipment.

In the exercise, the Israeli and Italian Air Forces practiced dogfights between the two armies. The exercise was held at the Decimomannu Air Base on Sardinia, which has an advanced system for documenting and studying aerial combat exercises, making it possible to examine the effectiveness of one’s combat doctrine after the exercise.

Israeli Air Force sources said that the exercise was held as part of the IAF’s readiness for coping with long-range threats, as well as keeping the IAF planes operational. The cooperation between Italy and Israel began about a decade ago and, since then, joint training is carried out from time to time by the two air forces.

The tendency in the Israeli Air Force in the recent period has been to expand the IAF’s participation in international exercises. This is with the aim of practicing long-range flights and battles against pilots from other countries, who employ different combat doctrines than the IDF.

For example, three months ago the IAF participated in the Red Flag exercise in the U.S., in which long sorties, refueling and dogfights were practiced. The exercise was declared a success by Israeli officials, and that Israeli pilots usually achieve good results in exercises of this kind.

In addition, the French weekly L’Express reported this past May that the IAF carried out an exercise over Gibraltar, at a distance of 3,800 kilometers from Israel. The report stated this showed Israel was practicing the possibility of a strike on Iran.

David Bedein can be reached at dbedein@israelbehindthenews.com

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David Bedein is an MSW community organizer and an investigative journalist.   In 1987, Bedein established the Israel Resource News Agency at Beit Agron to accompany foreign journalists in their coverage of Israel, to balance the media lobbies established by the PLO and their allies.   Mr. Bedein has reported for news outlets such as CNN Radio, Makor Rishon, Philadelphia Inquirer, Los Angeles Times, BBC and The Jerusalem Post, For four years, Mr. Bedein acted as the Middle East correspondent for The Philadelphia Bulletin, writing 1,062 articles until the newspaper ceased operation in 2010. Bedein has covered breaking Middle East negotiations in Oslo, Ottawa, Shepherdstown, The Wye Plantation, Annapolis, Geneva, Nicosia, Washington, D.C., London, Bonn, and Vienna. Bedein has overseen investigative studies of the Palestinian Authority, the Expulsion Process from Gush Katif and Samaria, The Peres Center for Peace, Peace Now, The International Center for Economic Cooperation of Yossi Beilin, the ISM, Adalah, and the New Israel Fund.   Since 2005, Bedein has also served as Director of the Center for Near East Policy Research.   A focus of the center's investigations is The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). In that context, Bedein authored Roadblock to Peace: How the UN Perpetuates the Arab-Israeli Conflict - UNRWA Policies Reconsidered, which caps Bedein's 28 years of investigations of UNRWA. The Center for Near East Policy Research has been instrumental in reaching elected officials, decision makers and journalists, commissioning studies, reports, news stories and films. In 2009, the center began decided to produce short movies, in addition to monographs, to film every aspect of UNRWA education in a clear and cogent fashion.   The center has so far produced seven short documentary pieces n UNRWA which have received international acclaim and recognition, showing how which UNRWA promotes anti-Semitism and incitement to violence in their education'   In sum, Bedein has pioneered The UNRWA Reform Initiative, a strategy which calls for donor nations to insist on reasonable reforms of UNRWA. Bedein and his team of experts provide timely briefings to members to legislative bodies world wide, bringing the results of his investigations to donor nations, while demanding reforms based on transparency, refugee resettlement and the demand that terrorists be removed from the UNRWA schools and UNRWA payroll.   Bedein's work can be found at: www.IsraelBehindTheNews.com and www.cfnepr.com. A new site,unrwa-monitor.com, will be launched very soon.

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