TEL AVIV (Jul. 12)
Defense Minister Moshe Dayan declared today that Israel’s armed forces, especially the Air Force–“the most powerful deterrent against the enemy”–must continue to maintain its superiority in face of a new phase in the Middle East balance of arms.
Dayan referred to the continuing flow of arms from Russia, France, England and even the United States, into the oil-rich Arab countries with no thought for Israel’s security. He said, moreover, that a new technological era poses problems that the Air Force must overcome to maintain its lead. The Defense Minister addressed graduating pilots at a major Israeli Air Base where 20,000 spectators witnessed a spectacular 45-minute air show and a tragedy.
Benjamin Gran, an Israeli television cameraman, was fatally injured by a plane taking off from a runway on which he was standing. The runway was out of bounds. An investigation has been started by the Air Force.
The aerial display featured Israel’s Phantom jets and a propellor-driven Spitfire, believed to be the only one of the famed British World War II fighters still in flight condition. The aircraft, known as the “Black Spitfire” was once piloted by retired Air Force commander Gen. Ezer Weisman. In today’s show to was flown by a test pilot. The display also featured a helicopter troop drop and aerial rescue techniques.