'Decision on conflict vs calm depends on Gaza'

35 graduates of the 175th class of the pilot's course receive their wings. PM warns Hamas not to test Israel, air force.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

175th pilot's course
175th pilot's course
IDF spokesperson

Thirty-six graduates, including one woman, completed the 175th Air Force Pilot's Course today (Wednesday) at a ceremony on the parade ground at Hatzerim Air Force Base.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu spoke at the ceremony and said that "today the air force is at the peak of its abilities – with the best technological tools, the best planes in the world, the best pilots in the world, with offensive and defensive capabilities and with awesome firepower that can reach both short-range and distant targets as necessary."

"We want the local population to live its life quietly and calmly, but the decision on whether there will be quiet in Gaza depends first of all on Gaza," the prime minister said. "We will not allow or tolerate any escalation by Hamas. We will use all means at our disposal to protect our sovereignty and the security of Israeli citizens."

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman noted that the ceremony took place 35 years after the outbreak of the First Lebanon War. "If, heaven forbid, a battle in the north develops again, the power [of the Israel Air Force] will be much more impressive."

"The technological breakthroughs that we have seen over the past decade change all the conventions and insights that have existed since the establishment of the State of Israel and the air force. Planes, UAVs and drones, Iron Dome, David's Sling, and the Arrow System - all this and today;s air force. What will the Air Force look like in the future, in 30 years? We have already begun our discussions and research, and this is one of our most complex missions on the eve of the start of the discussions. This is one of our most complex tasks on the eve of the start of the discussions on the next plan. The Israeli Air Force is the crushing force of the Israel Defense Forces. And in the coming years there wILL BE several challenges that we have never faced before," Liberman added.