The graduation ceremony for IAF course 180 will take place on Thursday at the IAF Airbase, where flight-wings will be awarded to graduates of the pilots course.
The flight course will be completed by 40 trainees, 37 men and three women. The graduates went through a complex three-year course, during which they were trained to form the forefront of the IDF's operational and strategic spearheads, and they will lead and carry out the IAF's operational activities in the years to come.
The ceremony will also mark the centennial of the founding of the Hagganah in 1920, the first of the Jewish defense organizations which would eventually become the IDF. President Reuven Rivlin, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Alternate Prime Minister and Defense Minister Benny Gantz, IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi, and IAF Commander Amikam Norkin will participate in the ceremony.
Due to the coronavirus crisis, the graduation ceremony will be held in a more limited manner without crowds. Only the immediate families of the graduates will be allowed to attend, and then, only in accordance with social distancing guidelines. The ceremony will be broadcast live, and there will be a limited air show.
The graduates of the course invited Mordechai Leflovitz, a former Etzel fighter who also fought in the British army and who is the grandfather of one of the graduates. During the visit, Mordechai met IAF Commander Amikam Norkin and was photographed with the graduates.
Leflovitz stated: "When I fought in the Irgun lines as a Holocaust refugee, the most rosy future I could have dreamed of was the establishment of the State. Now my granddaughter is destined to receive her flight wings, and my heart cannot contain its joy and pride. I see her as part of the strength of the IAF, the IDF and the whole country."
IAF Commander Amikam Norkin stated, "Mordechai Leflovitz, together with the Jewish defense forces, helped to create the strong infrastructure which we build on today in expanding the IAF's performance envelope to protect the security of the State of Israel. Mordechai's granddaughter, together with you the other graduates of the flight course, constitute the strategic Air force of the State of Israel and will create the strong infrastructure which will follow in the coming years."