Israeli Air Force celebrates 70th anniversary
IAF Commander Maj.-Gen. Norkin hosts 102-year-old corps veteran Ziloni, who recounts Air Force precursor Sherut Avir's founding in 1947; 'You simply cannot dream ahead and think up new innovations without deep roots and knowing where you started,' Norkin says.
On the 70th anniversary of the founding of the first Hebrew air force, Israeli Air Force Commander Maj.-Gen. Amikam Norkin hosted Lt.-Col. (res.) Alexander Ziloni, one of the air force's founders, in his office. Ziloni, 102, spoke to the corps commanders' forum on the creation of the aerial force.
The modern Israeli Air Force is based on the Sherut Avir ("Air Service"), founded November 10, 1947. The Air Service Headquarters, as it was then called, recruited people for various positions within the nascent corps.
The Headquarters held weekly meetings presided over by the organization's head. As part of an agreement with the Tel Aviv municipality, control of the Sde Dov airport was handed over to the Sherut Avir and the planes placed at its disposal were the first planes to be used by the Israeli Air Force later.
On the day the Sherut Avir was founded, then IDF Chief of Staff Yaakov Dori wrote head of the General Council For Hebrew Aviation in Israel Yehoshua Eshel to tell him, "The Haganah headquarters hereby informs you of its decision to found a standing air force starting from the date of this letter, to be called 'Sherut Avir'. Your submitted proposal for the Service's creation is also hereby approved. Your proposals for appointments and budget are requested without delay for immediate execution of the program."
The Air Force's Commander Norkin then thanked Ziloni for his visit. "I wish you good health for many years to come. Exhibiting the legacy of the air force must be increased tenfold. You simply cannot dream ahead and think up new innovations without deep roots and knowing where you started. That's our mission as commanders. The Sherut Avir set the Israeli Air Force on the path it walks today," Norkin told the former pilot.
Ziloni made Aliyah from Poland when he was five, served in the Royal Air Force during World War II and was one of the founders of the Israeli Air Force. He served in the corps until 1960 and participated in aerial operations during the Suez Crisis. Ziloni retired holding the rank of lieutenant-colonel, after serving as a military attaché in Washington.