Shimon Peres, the ninth President of the state of Israel, passed away tonight. The man who made it seem like he would live forever, left a unique heritage behind him. “The IAF deserves all of the compliments I pay it”
There are very few people and places in Israel (and in the world) that Shimon Peres left untouched and on this day, many of those people and places tell tales of the man who was an inspiration and role model for so many. His connection with the IAF goes back many years to the War of Independence in 1948 and until recently, he made sure to keep himself updated and participate in Command Forums in the IAF’s bases. In his last meeting in the IAF, he spoke of innovation and despite his age, he had fluent knowledge of new technologies.
He was proud to bestow “Flight Wings” upon Flight Academy Graduates as Minister of Defense, Prime Minister and President. He blessed the late Ilan Ramon, the first Israeli astronaut, before he embarked on his mission to space and later awarded his son, the late Asaf Ramon with his “Flight Wings” upon his graduation from the IAF Flight Academy. “To the father – space wasn’t the limit, to the son – the sky wasn’t a ceiling”, said Peres in Asaf’s funeral. “In our worst dreams we could not imagine such a heart breaking scenario”.
In a special interview he granted to the IAF Magazine in honor of Israel’s jubilee, he recalled his first meetings with the IAF. “I remember the arrival of the first aircraft from France. It was just a few years after the War of Independence, a war in which our enemies had large and equipped air forces while we had a few old planes. The arrival of the planes from France symbolized the beginning of the process of building the power of our air force”.
“I remember operation ‘Moked’ that opened the ‘Six Day’ War. In two hours the war had been decided thanks to the IAF and of course I remember the first aircraft developed by the IAI, here in Israel”.
We asked him then what he thought was in store for the IAF in the next 60 years. “I think that the main direction should be space”, he answered without hesitating. “It is a farther point of view, much more precise and should be the direction. We need to remember that 25 years ago, the first computer took up an entire room and was very clumsy and today it sits in our pocket, so I have no doubt that there is room to develop this and other fields, because development is infinite”.
The IAF bows it head and salutes the ninth President of the State of Israel, who passed away tonight at the age of 93. His legacy is his will and the IAF will continue developing advanced technology, investing in the development of the Negev desert, looking forward and being first. May his memory be a blessing.