TEL AVIV (Jul. 11)
Recently delivered American Skyhawk jets were the center of attraction in a display of air power that marked Israel Air Force Day at a base in the Negev today. Despite blistering temperatures, several thousand people attended the event which was addressed by Defense Minister Moshe Dayan, Chief of Staff Gen. Chaim Bar-Lev, and the commander of Israel’s Air Force, Col. Mordechai Hod.
The latter, who pinned wings on newly graduated pilot officers, declared in a radio interview that Israel’s Air Force has the means to stand up against the equipment now possessed by the Arab states and will always maintain a qualitative superiority of Israeli flyers over Arab flyers.
The Air Force Day celebrations were highlighted by a demonstration of bombing, rocket launching and strafing. In addition to the Skyhawks, the Air Force showed off its French-built Mirage and Mystere jets and Fouga-Magister trainers in a display of aerial acrobatics. Gen. Dayan sounded a sober note when he observed that the Arabs have rebuilt their smashed Air Forces as if nothing had happened in June, 1967 and Israel faces a new confrontation. “We have always been dragged into wars we did not want but we won because of the superior quality of our men,” he said.