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.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.