The Israeli Air Force (IAF) Flight School Graduation Ceremony was held today at the Hatzerim base where the new pilots were awarded their ‘flight wings’. The ceremony marks the end of a three-year course that includes officer and pilot training as well as an academic degree from Ben-Gurion University. The President of the State of Israel, Mr. Shimon Peres, Prime Minister, Mr. Binyamin Netanyahu, Minister of Defense, Mr. Ehud Barak, Chief of the General Staff, Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz and IAF Commander, Maj. Gen. Ido Nehushtan attended the ceremony as did the families of those graduating, guests and IAF staff.
As of next week, the new graduates will be stationed at different IAF squadrons and will continue their operational training as pilots, navigators and flight engineers.
Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz spoke at the ceremony and noted that, “Today, your voice joins the thunderous one of the IDF, one that answers those who wish us harm: do not test the strength of the IDF. Our force is that of a strong and persistent nation- we do not seek war, but are determined and prepared to retaliate if a threat is posed upon us. As long as Israeli communities are in range of the missiles of Hamas, Hezbollah and other terrorist organizations, your first and foremost challenge is to provide a peripheral response to the threat from our enemies.”
The Chief of General Staff added, “As long as we face attacks of de-legitimization, fueled by false propaganda and flotillas driven by hate, we will persevere and stand tall, armed with the truth and prepared to respond harshly to any threat on the State of Israel.”
IAF Commander, Maj. Gen. Ido Nehushtan noted, “The Middle East is energized, it as if continents are shifting around us. Within this instability, it is of utmost importance to safeguard the State of Israel as an island of stability. Military strength is a necessity in this period, and the IAF has a central role regardless of the scenario- as a deterring force, a crushing force and as a strategic arm. Its ability to be versatile and adaptive are paramount, especially in this time of uncertainty.”