An Israeli Air Force F-35 Lightning II fighter. Photo: AFP/Jack Guez
An Israeli Air Force F-35 Lightning II fighter. Photo: AFP/Jack Guez

In a show of what some are calling a burgeoning Israeli-Gulf alliance against Iran, a military delegation from the United Arab Emirates is said to have traveled to Israel to get a first-hand look at advanced F-35 fighter jets acquired from the US.

Israel’s i24NEWS reported the event, citing unnamed sources who said that a US delegation was also present for the visit.

The UAE is said to be looking to become the second Middle Eastern country, after Israel, to have the fifth-generation fighter jet.

Israel received its first delivery of the Lockheed Martin-made stealth aircraft in 2016 and declared this year that it was the first country to use the jet in combat. It was later reported that the chief of the Israeli Air Force was chided by cabinet members for showing off the plane’s exploits with a photo of an Israeli F-35 flying above Lebanon.

This image showing an Israeli F-35 flying above Beirut was circulating on social media after being shown in a presentation by Israeli Air Force chief Amikam Norkin.

The UAE and Israel do not currently have official diplomatic relations, but recent reports have suggested that the converging interest of curbing Iran’s growing influence in the region has spurred the two countries to develop clandestine ties.