Photo Credit: IDF Spokesperson's Unit
Adir F-35 Stealth fighter jet upon arrival at Nevatim Air Base in the Negev. Dec. 12, 2016.

Israel’s two new ‘Adir’ F-35 stealth fighter jets landed in Israel on Monday evening, with great pomp and circumstance at Nevatim Air Base in the Negev. They were received with great ceremony by Israel’s leadership, including President Reuven Rivlin, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter, IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot, Israel Air Force Commander Amir Eshel and top IAF officials.

“The Adir aircraft redefines Israel’s abilities of deterrence. It re-defines the IDF’s long arm. It redefines the realm of our ability to operate,” noted President Rivlin.

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“Anyone who thinks to destroy us puts himself in danger of extinction,” the prime minister said during the welcoming ceremony for the “Mighty” Adir aircraft.

“Today, our military strength is bolstered with this significant addition. The Adir pilots and the Adir aircraft will be capable of operating in every arena – whether it be from close or from afar. I also want to say this very clearly: Anyone who thinks of attacking us will be attacked. Anyone who thinks to destroy us places themselves in existential danger. This is a prerequisite for ensuring our future.

An American pilot brought the first Adir F-35 stealth fighter jet home to Israel.
An American pilot brought the first Adir F-35 stealth fighter jet home to Israel.

“History teaches us a simple lesson: Weak nations do not survive. They invite themselves to attacks and are prone to collapse. The weak are trampled upon and the strong are respected. Only strength creates deterrence; only strength inspires respect; only strength produces alliances – and only strength brings peace. We will continue to bolster our security and build up our forces.”

U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter also spoke at the ceremony, noting, “This is an historic day for Israel, the greatest friend of the United States, if only to follow the U.S. as the first to accept the F-35 aircraft.” He added that once all 50 of the stealth fighter jets have arrived in the Jewish State, the intensity of Israel’s Air Force will be “completely changed.”

A live broadcast heard between Israeli pilots accompanying the Adir was heard by those waiting on the ground: “We fighter pilots of the [Israel] Air Force are proud to escort the mighty aircraft to its arrival in the State of Israel.”

After the arrival of the two aircraft, the pilots were welcomed with the playing of the national anthems of the United States and the State of Israel, Hatikva.

Israel Air Force Commander Major General Amir Eshel also spoke. “Tonight begins a fascinating encounter between a man and the machine, between our excellent pilots and the maintenance teams, to the technological progress in the field of aviation,” he said. “This encounter is expected to bring new ideas and great abilities. The aircraft will become more and more blue and white, both operational and by its technological systems.

“Every Adir will be a powerful offensive machine, information and control center and will operate in the most advanced patterns in a completely different way from what is known.

“In 2017 the aircraft will be operational and we will operate it in a way that will exceed the expectations of its planners. The Adir will become an accelerator for the IAF in its whole. We intend to leverage the systematical abilities to new peaks, both in offense and defense. The aerial power will become more lethal, combined and relevant.”

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.