Berlin/Nörvenich For the first time the Israeli Air Force is training in Germany. In addition to air combat exercises, a joint commemoration is to take place. The armed forces could also be observed over Bonn from time to time.
For air combat exercises and a joint commemoration, fighter planes of the Israeli Air Force landed in Germany for the first time. The planes arrived at the Nörvenich airbase in North Rhine-Westphalia on Monday, according to the air force. They also flew over Bonn.
"The six F-16s will take part in the BlueWings2020 and MAGDAYs exercises over the next two weeks," the Bundeswehr branch wrote on Twitter. The planes and their crews have also been transferred so they can attend a symbolic rememberance event.
In commemoration of the 1972 Olympic bombing, a German-Israeli formation is to fly over the Bavarian airbase Fürstenfeldbruck on Tuesday. There, in 1972, a badly planned attempt by the German police to free the Israeli Olympic team had failed catastrophically with the death of nine of the hostages - reason for the foundation of the special unit GSG 9.
"The return flight will pass the outskirts of Dachau. Afterwards, the German-Israeli delegation will lay a wreath at the concentration camp memorial site there and commemorate the victims of the Holocaust and the National Socialist tyranny," the Air Force declared last week.
The invitation had been extended by the Air Force Inspector General, Lieutenant General Ingo Gerhartz, during his last visits to Israel. German military pilots have already been in Israel for exercises in 2017 and 2019. "After the crime of the Shoah against humanity, it is a moving sign of our friendship today that we are flying side by side with the Israeli Air Force for the first time in our history," Gerhartz had declared in the run-up to the Israeli visit. "The darkest chapter in German history gives us reason for our mission today to fight anti-Semitism with the utmost consistency."
In the first week, the guests will be familiarised with the German situation. In Israel the military itself controls the airspace, in Germany a civil air traffic control is responsible, even if parts of the "sky over Germany" are reserved for exercises in the next few days. In addition: Germany is densely populated and is flown over at close intervals. In the second week, the Hungarians will join us to fly multinational air-to-air exercises - sometimes the pilots are attackers, sometimes defenders.
The foreign policy spokesman of the CDU/CSU parliamentary group, Jürgen Hardt, declared on Monday: "For the CDU/CSU parliamentary group in the German Bundestag, the first German-Israeli military exercise on the territory of the Federal Republic of Germany is a sign of the deep friendship and solidarity between our countries. Israel is Germany's only democratic security partner in the Middle East.
The Ministry of Defence described the arrival of the Israelis on Monday as a "historic moment". Military experts pointed out that military cooperation with Israel has become closer in recent years. For example, Germany is procuring the new drone Heron TP there and is also having the operating crews trained in Israel.
Original text: Carsten Hoffmann, dpa - Translation: Mareike Graepel