Last Friday, a fleet of six small private aircraft took off from the Rishon LeZion airfield in an airborne salute to the dedicated men and women of Israel’s hospitals and medical clinics, Magen David Adom, Tzahal, and the Israel Police Force, who have been working around the clock to save lives in the ongoing battle against the novel coronavirus.

The organizer of the initiative, Reserve IDF Colonel Meir Indor, told The Jewish Press that the aerial salute was a way of saying thank you to “the emergency forces defending the home-front…in the effort to reduce the rate of infection.”

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Led by former Israel Air Force battle pilot commander Dan Shion, the airplanes traveled the length and breadth of the country, circling over Hadassah Ein Keren Hospital, Shaare Zedek, and Magen Adom Headquarters in Jerusalem; the major medical centers in Ramat Gan and Tel Aviv; Laniado Hospital in Netanya, and the Rambam Medical Center in Haifa, to site but a few.

The lead pilot Shion told The Jewish Press that he contacted the heads of each medical facility by telephone as he circled overhead to thank them and all their health professionals on behalf of the people of Israel.

Director General of Magen David Adom Eli Bin said, “In these difficult times, the aerial salute we witnessed on Friday is deeply appreciated by all of the medical professionals, caregivers, policemen, and soldiers who are united in the trenches in the battle against corona. Only together can we triumph over this pernicious enemy.”

Meir Indor told The Jewish Press that he also organized the event to encourage people to follow the government’s coronavirus rules “such as the need to wear a mask, respect a safe distance between one person from the next, and to avoid large gatherings.”

He said, “Like in any war, the citizens of the country are also soldiers, who must support the troops in the field. First and foremost, discipline is demanded – adherence to the orders of the hour.… The simple fact is, if we don’t wear a mask on our faces, we are going to get the corona in our faces.”

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Tzvi Fishman was awarded the Israel Ministry of Education Prize for Creativity and Jewish Culture for his novel "Tevye in the Promised Land." A wide selection of his books are available at Amazon. His recent movie "Stories of Rebbe Nachman" The DVD of the movie is available online.