German and Israeli fighter jets fly over Jerusalem as part of international flight exercise

Stuti Mishra

The Independent  /  October 18, 2021

‘The fly-by expresses the strong partnership and connection between the air forces and the countries’.

In a show of friendship, Israeli and German fighter jets flew over the skies of Jerusalem for the first time since World War 1, as the two nations carried out a joint military exercise.

The aircraft were spotted on Sunday flying over Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, and other government buildings and towards the area of Malha in Jerusalem.

The flyby was carried out to mark the beginning of the Blue Flag international flight exercise between Israel and Germany, which brought the German military aircraft to Israel’s capital for the first time since World War 1, according to the Times of Israel.

“The fly-by expresses the strong partnership and connection between the air forces and the countries, as well as the commitment to continued cooperation in the future,” the Israeli army said in a statement.

This is the largest joint exercise to be held in Israel to date and will continue till 28 October. The next phase of the exercise will see fighter jets flying over both Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.

Before the fly-by, the German and Israeli air force chiefs, Ingo Gerhartz and Amikam Norkin, visited the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem together, the army statement said.

Germany has carried out joint exercises with Israel earlier as well, with Israeli jets flying in Germany. In August, six F-16s of the Israeli Air Force entered the German airspace for the first time escorted by Germany’s Eurofighter planes.

The jets flew over the Dachau concentration camp and the Fürstenfeldbruck’ airport, in a display of the two countries’ strong ties after over seven decades after the Nazi Holocaust.

“After the crime against humanity that was the Shoah [Holocaust], 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,” Lt Gen Ingo Gerhartz, the head of Germany’s Air Force, said in a statement back in August.