DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — As Israel unleashes one of the most-intense aerial bombing campaigns the Middle East has ever seen, leaders from the world's top air forces met Sunday in the United Arab Emirates to talk about almost anything that wasn't an airstrike.
The discussions at the Dubai International Air Chiefs' Conference, held ahead of the biennial Dubai Air Show this week, shows the delicate balancing act the federation of seven sheikhdoms faces. The UAE maintains diplomatic ties with Israel despite widespread and growing anger in the Arab world over the civilian casualties from Israel's offensive in the Gaza Strip against Hamas.
The Air Chiefs' Conference demonstrates how those ties continue, particularly as Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd., an Israeli defense manufacturer, was a sponsor of the summit. And while the Dubai Air Show focuses primarily on commercial aircraft in a region crucial to East-West travel, there's a military component of the event as well.
Listed among the show's exhibitors are both Rafael and Israel Aerospace Industries, which makes radars for its anti-missile systems and combat drones for the Israeli military.
“IAI stands shoulder to shoulder with the (Israeli military) to fully support all efforts, with fully operational systems,” the company said in an online message. “We have a national duty and a profound responsibility to support the … Israeli defense…