FIDF 30th Anniversary FIDF 30th Anniversary FIDF 30th Anniversary After taking off in Boeing 707s to a joint delegation with IDF commanders to Poland, the Friends of the IDF organization arrived for a special visit at Palmachim airbase in mention of 30 years since the founding of the group. Commander of the IAF: “We know we will not stand alone, you will always accompany us”

Mai Efrat

An IAF Boeing 707 landed in Israel this weekend after returning from a military delegation to Poland. This time, not only IDF commanders and soldiers exited it, but also dozens of contributors from the FIDF-the Friends of the IDF in the U.S.

“Together with IDF soldiers they arrived at the camps, walked through Auschwitz and the forests. It was a one-of-a-kind experience”, says Colonel (Res.) Atar Dagan, the organization’s representative in Israel, who also joined the journey. It was the first delegation of its kind, which was intended to mark 30 years since the founding of the organization and to strengthen the ties between the donors and the IDF.

The Air Force of the Jewish People

“I cannot describe the connection that formed”, describes Colonel (Res.) Dagan. “The connection with the IAF is special. The capabilities of the force allow it to respond to threats far away from Israel, and contribute to the understanding that this is the Air Force of the entire Jewish people. The force is able to protect Jews in all kinds of places around the world, such as Entebbe. The donors understand this issue, and feel a commitment to it”.

After flying in IAF planes, visiting the cockpit and getting to know the people of the force, FIDF members arrived for an activity-dense visit at Palamchim airbase. They met with Commander of the IAF, Major General Ido Nehoshtan, and heard about the structure of the force and its challenges. Afterward, they were led through a tour of the various aircrafts, watched an aerial demonstration of Blackhawk and Cobra helicopters and even witnessed a live aerial evacuation.

Behind the Technology–There is a Person

“I’ve never met people with such energy and responsibility, who do such important things at such a young age”, shares Mrs. Melinda Lowell Paltrow from New Jersey. “These systems may be computerized and have advanced technology, but behind the technology there’s a person. You make the IAF what it is, the best air force in the world, and I’m so happy to have been given the opportunity to help”, she smiles. “These are people that have been accompanying us for years through amazing projects, all for the soldiers”, states Brigadier General Yoav Laor, Commander of the airbase. “We’re talking about a friendship and extraordinary cooperation. I see great importance in that”.

The delegation also inaugurated a new auditorium, which like many other buildings in Palamchim, was built thanks to the contributions of the FIDF. “We want to express our appreciation to all soldiers who risk their lives for the State of Israel and the Jewish people”, said the Simms couple, two of the donors that assisted in constructing the auditorium. “We fell in love with these young, brave people. We, our children and our grandchildren feel more protected as you keep the world safe”.

“FIDF is an organization that is very important to us. We want you to see us as your friends”, added Major General Ido Nehoshtan. “We know we will not stand alone, you will always accompany us”.