President Shim'on Peres delivered remarks at the Israel Air Force (IAF) graduation ceremony, Thursday afternoon at the Hatzerim Air Force Base. Referring to the threats and challenges Israel is facing, he said, "Over the past 50 years, Israel's Air Force remains the best in the world. When you throw your berets in the air you will become the young guard – the next generation of the best air force in the world. You will hold in your hands the controls of the airplane which are also the controls of the security of the State of Israel and protect the country and its skies. Israel is facing complex and multiple challenges. The IDF [Israel Defense Forces - ed.] and the IAF have the ability to deal with those challenges and threats. The reputation of the IAF is part of Israel's deterrent system."
President Peres continued, "As well as challenges we also face new opportunities. These become clearer when we look at the regional map from above. I know you will ensure our country is in a position to push back against the threats and maximize the opportunities, whether that opportunity is renewing the negotiations between us and the Palestinians, which can be done immediately, or the threat which is a common threat to the entire world. There are two wings of the airplane – one to defend the country and the other to provide the alternative of peace."