Today, new aerial team members have officially joined the ranks of the IAF, after three years of intense qualification efforts. Commander of the IAF, Major General Amir Eshel awarded the soldiers the wings they have been yearning for. “You are the spearhead of the IDF”, said the Prime Minister of Israel at the event, “We all know that without you we would have neither a present nor a future”
Three years of hard work have come to an end: Graduates of the IAF’s 166 Aviation Course received their wings and became official aerial team members. The ceremony was held at Hatzerim Airbase, in the presence of Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, President Shimon Peres, Minister of Defense Moshe “Bogie” Ya’alon, Commander of the IDF Lieutenant General Benny Gantz and Commander of the IDF Major General Amir Eshel. “Dear graduates, dare to imagine, follow your heart”, congratulated President Peres. “Our entire nation salutes you”
The ceremony was held as part of the commemoration of the forty years that have passed since Yom Kippur War. Regardless of Israel’s long history, the challenges of the aviation course graduates might be different from their predecessors, but not any less difficult. “The entire area isn’t stable from north to south. Against our changing reality we have to be synced and ready as ever”, said commander of the IDF, Lieutenant General Benny Gantz. “I expect you to remember that you are part of a whole: We need the force of the water and ground branches. Remember that in order to maximize our strength, we need to be like an iron fist to our enemies. We need excellent cooperation”.
Minister of Defense, Moshe Yaalon, talked about the readiness of our forces: “You and your fellow friends have to be ready at a moment’s notice, you’ll be asked to activate your abilities and hurt the ones working to rearm and build long term unconventional capabilities that threaten our safety”.
In his blessing to the graduates of the aviation course, Prime Minister of Benjamin Netanyahu made clear their importance to national security. “We want peace. We extend our hand and discuss peace, but we will not ignore or compromise on our security. We have offensive and defensive capabilities and we know how to use them at the right time”, said the Prime Minister. “You are the spearhead of the IDF. We all know that without you we wouldn’t have a present and we might not have a future”.
As in the past, jets from the force circled the sky, demonstrating their capabilities. Aside from the celebrations of the graduates, the IAF marks its 65th anniversary, but the force knows that, despite the old age, this is no time to rest on its laurels and that it is incumbent upon the new combat soldiers, as well as the veterans, to be alert and ready for action. “In a frantic, explosive environment, the IAF has to be alert, fit and ready for immediate action in the face of any developments: from a local event to an escalation on multiple fronts. We must be sharp and focused: to identify, to analyze, to operate and to win”, said Commander of the IAF, Major General Amir Eshel. “We will know how to respond to new threats emerging around us every day, professionally and with sense and composure”.
Along with security threats, the Commander of the IAF stressed additional challenges the force will have to confront. “We are aware of the economic situation and, as usual, we must leave no stone unturned in order to be stronger and make more effective use of the resources at our disposal. In light of the lack of national resources, we will do all that we can to preserve the IAF, its deterrence, its determination and defense of the State of Israel”.