IAF Takes to the Skies to Celebrate Israel's 60th Nationwide

The Israel Air Force made sure every child in the Jewish State was able to celebrate Independence Day, even if they were stuck at home.

Hana Levi Julian,

Flying over the State of Israel
Flying over the State of Israel
Israel News Photo: (file)

Not every little kid in Israel was able to see the fireworks or visit the army bases or other special Independence Day sites around the country – but the Air Force made sure everyone had at least a taste of the celebration.

Between 12:30 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. Thursday afternoon, IAF aircraft flew in formation around the country, blasting through the air at low enough altitudes to thrill even the most apathetic youngster.

In the small city of Arad, where the northeastern Negev converges with the Judean desert, children who were unable to attend any of the special holiday shows had one brought right to their doorstep -- in a manner of speaking.

One particular young boy stood outside and gazed into the skies, shielding his eyes against the bright sunlight as a team of five jets streaked past.

“Wow!  Didja see that?? Were they from our base?”  The Nevatim air base is located halfway between Arad and Be’er Sheva and rare is the child who has not heard of it, or tried to figure out how to get in.

The roar of the next formation drowned out any further discussion as he and his sisters watched a flawless aerial display by six different IAF teams for the next 20 minutes.

Each team soared off in a graceful arc heading north-northwest on to their next gig in the nationwide flyover. The pilots’ flight plan took them past Be’er Sheva, Yerucham, Dimona, Beit Shemesh, Jerusalem, Beit She’an, Afula, Nazareth, Tiberias, Katzrin, Tzefat, Carmiel, Nahariya, Haifa, Netanya, Tel Aviv, Ashdod, Ashkelon, Sderot, Netivot and Ofakim.

While IAF pilots were entertaining families across the country, other military events were taking place in a display of the IDF’s prowess in other areas.

At midday along the Jerusalem beach in Tel Aviv, the IAF coordinated with the Israel Navy for a combined  aeronautical and naval display.. Skydivers formed the number 60 in the sky.

Unfortunately the beautiful display was marred by strong winds that caused a painful landing, just on the edge of the safe zone, by one of the skydivers. He struck the front line of the viewers on the beach, and moderately to seriously wounded a female spectator, himself and one other person. Seven others were injured as well.

At the Ashkelon beach, 120 paratroopers from around the world joined with IDF paratroopers in a group jump. There too, capricious winds played havoc with the majestic show of unity. Four people were injured when one of the paratroopers was blown into the audience.

Various military bases opened their gates to the public as well to show off aircraft, vehicles, search-and-rescue equipment and weapons from the past and present.

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