Passing the Baton

“The Force has much strategic weight on its shoulders. It is meaningful and immediate”


Passing the Baton

Incoming Commander of the IAF, Major General Amir Eshel Passing the Baton

Major General Ido Nehoshtan: “It’s unlike any other job” This week, the IAF will be saying goodbye to its current commander of four years, Major General Ido Nehoshtan. Major General Eshel will become the next commander, after receiving the authority last Thursday, and will enter the role on Monday

IAF Website

Tomorrow (Monday), the seasoned combat pilot major General Ido Nehoshtan will be saying goodbye to the force he has been leading for the past four years. “It’s not even remotely similar to any other job”, he said in farewell interview with the IAF Magazine. “I was a young pilot, head of Squadron, and a base Commander. I operated within the Headquarters, dealt with intelligence, operations and preserved the force’s power, but commanding over the entire Israeli Air Force is completely different. You have to be fully involved with every single detail, with the places, aircrafts and results”.

Ido Nehoshtan was recruited to the elite IAF Pilot Training Course in July 1975. After graduating the course he was stationed at the “Skyhawk” Squadron. Later on, he began training to fly the “Phantom” and was stationed at the “Knights of the Orange Tail” Squadron”. In 1979, he became an instructor in the Aviation Academy and operated as a member of the Aerobatics Team.

After being trained to fly on the F-16 Fighting Falcon, he was positioned at the “Negev” Squadron where he operated as deputy commander. Later on, he commanded on the “Golden Eagle” and “The Scorpion” Combat Squadrons. In 1993 he operated as Head of the Ammunition Department in the Headquarters, and a year later he became a Colonel and head of the Organization and Planning department.

In 1997, he became Commander of Hatzor Airbase–the only base he ever headed. After three years, he became a Brigadier General and was deemed Head of the Intelligence Formation. In 2002 he was appointed Head of Aerial Squadrons, and in 2004 he became head of the IAF Headquarters. In the summer of 2006 he was given his Major General insignia, became head of Planning Department, and proceeded to become the 16th commander of the IAF.

“We are the most concrete definition of the nation’s power”
Major General Eshel will be the 17th Commander of the IAF. He was recruited to the Elite IAF Pilot Training Course in 1977. After the course he began his service as a “Skyhawk” Pilot and later became an instructor in the Aviation Academy and commanded over the “117” and “Phantom” Squadrons. Nine Years ago he was appointed Head of Operations Department and commanded over IAF bases at Ramon and Tel Nof. He also operated as head of the Aerial Squadrons and Head of the IAF headquarters.

While commanding over Tel Nof Airbase, Eshel lead the historic flight over Auschwitz Concentration Camp. “It’s been a dream of mine for fifteen years”, said Major General Eshel, who is a second generation Holocaust survivor. “It’s the most concrete definition of the resurrection of this nation. The IAF is the most concrete definition of this nation’s power and nothing else could define it better”.

As a part of his last job in the IAF, during the second Lebanon War, Eshel operated as Head of the IAF Headquarters. Afterward, he was appointed head of the Planning department, and will now be named Commander of the IAF. “Major General Ido Nehoshtan leaves a powerful Air Force accompanied by many developments”, said Major General Eshel while receiving the authority. “We face intense tests and are ready for whatever they may hold”.

Major General Amir Eshel is married and the father of three children. He has a bachelor’s degree in General Studies from Alabama’s Auburn University and a graduate degree in political science from Haifa University and the College of National Security.