A Romney Administration would unequivocally support Israel in dealing with threats to its existence, said Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney in Monday’s foreign policy debate with President Obama. “When I’m President of the United States, we will stand with Israel,” said Romney during his final face-to-face sparring session with Obama prior to next month’s presidential election. “If Israel is attacked, we have their back, not just diplomatically, not just culturally, but militarily,” added Romney. Israel is “a true friend and our greatest ally in the region,” he said, calling “the tension” that he accused the Obama Administration of fomenting in the US-Israel relationship “very unfortunate.” Like Romney, Obama expressed unambiguous support for Israel during the Oct. 22 debate in Boca Raton, Fla. He called Israel “a true friend” and the United States’ “greatest ally” in the Middle East. “If Israel is attacked, America will stand with Israel. I’ve made that clear throughout my presidency,” said Obama. The United States and Israel enjoy “unprecedented military and intelligence cooperation, including dealing with the Iranian threat,” he said, noting this week’s Austere Challenge missile defense exercise in Israel, “the largest military exercise with Israel in history.” (Debate transcript)
Three B-1B Lancers from the 7th Bomb Wing flew over the Indo-Pacific alongside F-16s from the Japanese Air Self-Defense Force as part of a joint large force exercise. The mission began and ended in the continental U.S. The bombers flew 31 hours and landed Jan. 11.