Israeli fighter pilots recently trained with Arab counterparts in the United States, Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon said on Tuesday, referring to a joint exercise that a U.S. official described as involving Jordanian planes.

The remarks by Yaalon followed Israel’s disclosure that its air force helped locate a Russian passenger plane that crashed in the Egyptian Sinai on Saturday – both rare departures from a policy of keeping Israeli-Arab military cooperation under wraps.

Bruised by an Iranian nuclear deal with world powers that it had lobbied against, and hoping to skirt deadlocked Palestinian peace talks through wider regional engagement, Israel has been hinting it enjoys burgeoning secret ties with some Arab powers.[…]