Soldiers from Palmachim Airbase Create Chia Pets
A Blackhawk Helicopter on a Spring Flight Once a year, technicians leave their underground workshops, pilots abandon the skies for ground and simulation instructors stop ‘planting’ threats in the simulator and begin planting trees. Tu Bishvat has arrived
Tu Bishvat is a wonderful excuse for the IAF to relax for a moment and connect to its roots. This year, soldiers had a chance to stop working for a moment, line their stomachs with dried fruit and contribute some time and effort to their airbases’ gardens.
From the most northern airbase to the south, the people of the force are committing to planting. The education officers decorate the bases and explain the meanings of Tu Bishvat, and the kitchen is also filled with holiday cheer. At Tel-Nof airbase, the “Knights of the Double Tail” squadron hosted teens from a nearby boarding school, who assisted them in planting trees in honor of fallen squadron members. “We cooperate with the boarding school year-round, and were happy to collaborate with them in planting as well”, said Corporal Tamar Fogel, an operations administrator of the squadron. “In addition, we’ve wanted to tend to our garden for a while so we integrated our plans with the holiday”.
While the slogan “The IAF to the South” emblazons their flags, the more southern airbases of the IAF are ‘taking root’ as well. At Ovda airbase, the soldiers of the base along with the children of the area will plant trees throughout the base and will be treated to dates, dried apricots and raisins. At Hatzerim airbase, ‘The Most Beautiful Garden’ competition was launched and at Ramon airbase a piece of land was reserved especially for the holiday. Tomorrow, the children in residence and the soldiers of the base will plant trees and flowers together. “We always try to include the children of the area”, explained Corporal Nitzan Frogol, an education NCO at the airbase. “They’re always excited and contribute much to the atmosphere”.
Even the unit that was founded as a result of the flames that engulfed sprawling green areas in the Carmel, the Aerial Firefighting Unit from Sde-Dov airbase, found a way to mark the holiday. The unit, which is responsible year-round for operating forces to put out fires in forests, groves and in fields, will embark on a field trip in the North, throughout which they will plant trees in the area. “It’s only natural that on Tu Bishvat, we as the firefighting unit will go out and plant”, explains Lieutenant Colonel Rami, the commander of the unit. “Our cooperation with the Jewish National Fund goes on year-round, even on holidays and joyous days”.