Photo: Zohar Shahar
protesting nation state law
Photo: Zohar Shahar

Israel Air Force set to welcome first Druze pilot in its history

Cadet - named only as G. for security reasons - is first to fly helicopters on active IAF duty; three other Druze airmen already serve as navigators

Israel's Air Force will have its first Druze pilot with the successful completion of the training program later this month.



Identified by only by his initial, G., a resident of the Galilee, is expected to receive his chopper pilot wings and become the first of Druze pilot in Israel's history.


Druze Air Force cadet G.
Druze Air Force cadet G.


The Druze community, which is part of the Arabic-speaking minority in Israel, constitutes less than 2% of the country's population.


There has been a special relationship between the community and the State of Israel - referred to as a "blood covenant" - since its establishment of the country in 1948. This includes service in Israel’s military and other security forces.


However, in 2018, the Knesset passed the Nation-State Law, which defines Israel solely as the nation state of the Jewish people with the right to national self-determination limited to Jews only. Druze community leaders were outraged at the legislation describing the law as discriminatory, saying it defined non-Jews as less than true citizens.  


A thrill-seeker, G. was an avid rock climber and preferred flying choppers to fighter jets because of their ability to fly closer to the ground.


His family expressed their joy and pride at their son's achievement and a friend reported their entire village has joined in celebrations.


"Everyone here is very proud of him," says a friend. "I can attest to the fact that the talk in the village over the past few weeks has been about the end of his course. We feel a pride that cannot be described in words. This is a moment and an historic achievement for our village and for the entire (Druze) community. "


G. was part of a high school track for outstanding students, and was behind many of the social activities in his village in northern Israel.


"The family supported G. during the long pilot's training program, but he shared little of his experiences as he progressed through each stage," relatives said.


The first Druze IAF navigator, Major A., was promoted some six months ago by Air Force Commander Amikam Norkin, and currently serves as head of the school for the operational headquarters of the IAF. 


A. previously held the rank of lieutenant colonel, the first Israeli Druze airman to do so.


פרסום ראשון: 06.14.19, 18:41
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