שגרירי מדינות שהתנסו בסימולטור הטייסת בניו יורק
Gilad Erdan (first row, right) and the ambassadors during the briefing
Photo: Michael Priest Photography
The ambassadors who took part in the Israeli Air Force simulator

Israel's UN ambassador takes peers on F-35 simulator joyride

Gilad Erdan says such events demonstrably improve foreign representatives' attitudes toward Israel through exposure and some even help him fight anti-Israeli initiatives

Daniel Edelson |
Published: 09.11.22, 17:37
The 77th United Nations General Assembly will convene in New York City next week, with exhibitions put on by member states arousing the fancies of diplomats.
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  • At the invitation of Israel's envoy to the United Nations Gilad Erdan, a group of 16 ambassadors exchanged their fine tailored suits for Israeli Air Force flight suits for a few hours and took a go at an F-35 simulator over the skies of Tel Aviv.
    3 View gallery
    שגרירי מדינות שהתנסו בסימולטור הטייסת בניו יורק
    שגרירי מדינות שהתנסו בסימולטור הטייסת בניו יורק
    The ambassadors who took part in the Israeli Air Force simulator
    (Photo: Michael Priest Photography)
    "This is not a competition," simulator instructor Neta told the diplomats as she tried to keep the atmosphere light. "There are no winners or losers, the goal is teamwork."
    The ambassadors nodded politely as they broke into teams. "You are with me on the team," the Tanzanian representative told his Mexican counterpart.
    "I come with a security background so I'm sure I'll do well," one of the diplomats remarked just before she crashed the plane into the Azrieli Towers. "The joystick doesn't work!" she remonstrated to those around her.
    3 View gallery
    שגרירי מדינות שהתנסו בסימולטור הטייסת בניו יורק
    שגרירי מדינות שהתנסו בסימולטור הטייסת בניו יורק
    Gilad Erdan (first row, right) and the ambassadors
    (Photo: Michael Priest Photography)
    When all was said and done, the diplomats huddled in front of the scoreboard. "I made my country proud," the Ukrainian representative celebrated as his Mexican peer grumbled about failing to break into the top ten, claiming the scores must have been manipulated.
    Erdan wondered why the crashes weren't shown as well despite serving as a good indication of an individual's survival skills and perseverance. Still, he quickly forgot about that after he found out that his team conquered the top spot. "It's thanks to my partner, the Kazakh representative," he said humbly. "I only contributed a crash."
    Erdan believes such events can affect UN votes which can prove crucial when it comes to members of the United Nations Security Council, such as Mexico.
    3 View gallery
    שגרירי מדינות שהתנסו בסימולטור הטייסת בניו יורק
    שגרירי מדינות שהתנסו בסימולטור הטייסת בניו יורק
    Gilad Erdan
    (Photo: Michael Priest Photography)
    He says such events demonstrably improve ambassadors' attitudes toward Israel. He claims some are actively helping him fight against anti-Israeli initiatives and even helped him advance a vote against Holocaust denial last January.
    "You were with me in Israel and you saw the truth," Erdan told his guests. "Israel is an example of coexistence. A beacon of liberal democracy and a leading country in innovation. You told me that visiting Israel opened your eyes. So I only have one request from you: Remember the truth about Israel and spread it to the world."
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