Arrived As Cadets, Left As Ambassadors

Arrived As Cadets, Left As Ambassadors

Arrived As Cadets, Left As Ambassadors

16 air cadets from around the world toured Israel and learned about the IAF. They departed this week, to return to their home countries, full of meaningful and warm memories. “I look forward to my next visit in Israel”

Daniella Bruchim

A very significant visit of 16 pilot cadets came to an end last night (Tuesday). Throughout their two week visit, they were given the opportunity to travel across Israel and learn first hand about the IAF.

“I’m honored to be here and talk to another cohort which took part in this wonderful journey”, said Lt. Col. (Res.) Yinon Bar Shilton in his speech at the formal closing dinner in honor of the cadets and hosting families, held at Beit Heil Avir in Herzlia. The representatives, youths as young as 18 years of age, who hailed from the USA, Britain, Germany, Netherlands, Hong Kong and France, traveled across Israel, from The Golan Heights all the way down to Eilat, visiting various IAF Air Bases and meeting IAF pilots, technicians and various soldiers from many units. “You can see how much the cadets enjoyed and were happy, from the smiles on their faces”, said Refael, an escort from the USA.

The Head of Human Resources, Brigadier General David Baraki referred in his speech to the importance of their visit in Israel: “The program is a great opportunity for cadets to see the real Israel and learn about the country as it really is, not in the unfortunate way it is represented in the international media. One of the main albeit tacit, goals of the delegation is to turn them into unofficial ambassadors back home”. Brigadier General Baraki also thanked the hosting families, “Thank you for opening your homes and hearts. You are the proof that we have not only warm weather in Israel, but also warm people”.

For the past 60 years, IACE (International Air Cadet Exchange Association) delegate groups have visited various allied countries, Israel included, often remaining in touch with their host families. “I look forward to my next visit in Israel”, said Thomas Smart, an 18 year old cadet from Wales, Britain. Meanwhile, back home, they become our true ambassadors.