The IAF graduation ceremony
The IAF graduation ceremonyIDF spokesperson

The 186th Pilots Course Graduation Ceremony was held today (Thursday), at the Hatzerim Air Force Base. During the ceremony wing insignias were awarded to 33 new IAF pilots, who constitute the IDF’s operational spearhead and will lead the IAF’s missions in upcoming years.

In attendance were the President of the State of Israel, Mr. Isaac Herzog, the Prime Minister of the State of Israel, Mr. Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s Minister of Defense, Mr. Yoav Gallant, the Chief of the General Staff, LTG Herzi Halevi, the Commanding Officer of the Israeli Air Force, Maj. Gen. Tomer Bar, additional IDF commanders and the families of the graduates.

The ceremony was held following the conclusion of a three-year-long course during which the cadets were trained as combat officers and graduated with degrees from the Ben-Gurion University in the Negev.

"The ceremony marks 75 years of IAF aerial combat and Israeli strength," the IDF stated.

Chief of the General Staff, LTG Herzi Halevi said: “Dear graduates, the civilians of the State of Israel are looking up at you and putting their trust in you. Together with all other IDF soldiers and commanders, you will continue to fulfill our mission of maintaining the security of the State of Israel, due to your operational strength and moral commitment. The IAF is a central component in the IDF’s strength and allows us to have precise, strong and decisive strike capabilities."

"Time after time you have proved that you are worthy to be pilots in the Israeli Air Force, and I expect you to continue doing exactly that - to lead ahead and complete every single mission professionally and with devotion.

"Today you conclude this course, a lengthy and complex training effort, and take off for a mission that will take place over the course of the next thirty years, during which you will fly in active and reserve duty. “I know you will report for duty whenever you are called to defend the country” - this is the principle on which the IDF is founded.

"We cannot know what will happen over the thirty years, but some things are certain - the State of Israel will face security threats, and we will have to be strong when we face them. There will also be dispute - that is a sign that Israeli society is caring and vigilant. in the face of both these things, one stable notion is demanded, and is also our insurance against disputes and threats - we will always defend ourselves, and we will always know how to unite around the goal of maintaining our security in a way that puts all disputes aside. Since security is at stake, you will fulfill your service, you will not withhold it, you will not make it conditional.

"We will continue to conduct operational activity at all times in every sector and we will be prepared for any development, whether that be in Iran or nearby, whether a jet or a helicopter is required. The next mission will be yours. we trust you - your character, your values your devotion for the State of Israel and your capabilities - all these were tested during the course and that is why I am confident you will succeed.”

Commanding Officer of the Israeli Air Force, Maj. Gen. Tomer Bar said: “It is the 75th anniversary of the State of Israel and you, the graduates of the 186th Pilots Course, are standing at the finish line. This finish line marks the beginning of a marvelous journey for our new pilots who will take upon their shoulders the privilege and responsibility for the State of Israel’s security from this day forward. The cooperation between all IDF branches involves technology, connectivity and AI, but is most evident in the spirit that unites all its servicemembers."

"Lately, voices have been heard attempting to harm and divide our orchestra, but we will strengthen and cultivate it, keeping it capable and united. I know you will report for duty at any time to defend the State of Israel and its security - that is our way, the way of the Israeli Air Force. Dear graduates, from this day forth you are part of the IAF family, and you carry this responsibility as well as this privilege with your loved ones. Carry it courageously and professionally, cooperatively and modestly. Spread your wings, go forth and succeed, and return home safely."