The Israeli Air Force 1947-1960: An Illustrated History



The writing of this book, the first in-depth and fully detailed research about the early years of the Chel Ha’avir – from the light-plane days to the supersonic fighters received roughly ten years later – is the culmination of a long research period by the author. Research that was made harder by the tight – but understandable and respected – security measures involving Israel’s Forces. An exceptional source of information has been the help provided by many Chel Ha’Avir veterans who fought in the early days during 1948/1949, and those who helped establish a viable air force in 1949-1956 in spite of tight budgets, obsolescent equipment and lack of experience, and also those who fought in Sinai in late 1956, establishing the seeds for its future role as the airborne shield of Israel. As the reader will discover, the beginnings were extremely hard, and the Chel Ha’Avir had to face unfriendly attitudes from both the United States and the United Kingdom, which took place while many people – civilian and military – were dying in the newborn Hebrew state. But in observing that official policies do not always reflect the citizenship’s feelings, most of the colorful band of foreign volunteers that helped the Chel Ha’avir – and the other defense forces – to resist, fight back and win, came from those countries. These foreign volunteers, mostly with combat experience in World War II, provided a core in which many highly talented young Israelis learned fast. One thing was certain, then and now; Israel exists because of the resolute people that live in this small country, both civilian and military, but above all because of the Chel Ha’avir which in the following years would be proclaimed the most combat experienced air force in the world. Signed by: Amir Nachumi (Hebrew: אמיר נחומי‎, born 1945) is a retired Israeli Air Force Brigadier General who in the course of his career shot down 14 enemy aircraft, making him one of Israel's top flying aces. He scored 7 aerial kills in the F-4 Phantom II during the Yom Kippur War, 7 in the F-16 Fighting Falcon in fighting over Lebanon, and participated in Operation Opera, the 1981 raid that destroyed an Iraqi nuclear reactor.

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