The Air Force flyover is a beloved element of Israel Independence Day, and this year, for the first time, the flyover will include Hebron, the city of the patriarchs. The flyover, performed by the IAF aerobatic team, will also include the Gush Etzion region of Judea.
The flyover by show and military aircraft begins at 10 AM on Thursday, May 5. It will cover the entire length of the country, from the northern city of Kiryat Shmona to the southern city of Eilat. The Israeli Air Force has uploaded a special interactive map showing the event timetable, plane types, and routes.
Aircraft from Emirati Etihad Airways and Wizz Air Abu Dhabi were scheduled to participate in the Israeli flyover but backed out due to tensions between Israel and the United Arab Emirates over clashes atop Jerusalem’s Temple Mount.
Yamina, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s party, released a statement praising the inclusion of Hebron in the flyover.
“We’re also celebrating independence in Judea and Samaria, together with hundreds of thousands of settlers who for the first time will be able to see the flyover above their homes,” the statement read.
Hebron Jewish community spokesperson Yishai Fleisher said on Sunday that “the flyover of the Independence Day aircraft is a symbol of the heart of Israeli independence. There is nothing more normal and beautiful than those airplanes flying over the very essence and root of the Jewish peoplehood, the tomb of the forefathers and foremothers in Hebron.”
The Yesha Council also welcomed the IAF’s decision to fly over the “ancestral city of Hebron, which is the cradle of the existence of the Jewish people. It is a just and worthy decision that emphasizes the right – and the source of our pride – as a country after 2,000 years of exile.”
Not all were so pleased. Meretz MK Mossi Raz called it “unnecessary and provocative,” adding that the planes should not pass over the “heads of millions of [Palestinian] residents living under occupation.”
Peace Now, a left-wing extremist anti-Israel NGO based in Israel, stated, “It gives legitimacy to settlements established in violation of international law and not part of Israel.”
The IDF released a statement refuting the political connotations ascribed to the flyover.
“The IDF is a state body, and any attempt to assign a political statement or message to the flyover route is devoid of any basis.
“In previous y“We’re also celebrating independence in Judea and Samaria, together with hundreds of thousands of settlers who for the first time will be able to see the flyover above their homes,” the statement read. ears, the flyover passed over areas in Judea, Samaria, and the Jordan Valley, as well as other areas in the State of Israel, from [Kibbutz] Dan to Eilat,” the IDF said. “Flight routes change from time to time, with the planes scheduled to overfly localities with more than 30,000 residents to pass over as many of the country’s citizens as possible. This year’s flyover will pass over the southern Hebron hills, on the shortest flight path from Hatzerim base to Jerusalem.”