Photo Credit: Yonatan Sindel / Flash 90
Israeli Air Force acrobatic team flies over Hadassah Ein Kerem hospital in Jerusalem on Israel's 72nd Independence Day on April 29, 2020,

The Israel Air Force will fly for the first time this year on Independence Day over Kiryat Arba and Hebron following its flight over Jerusalem, Bethlehem and Gush Etzion, the IDF confirmed.

The decision has prompted praise from right-wing sectors, and anger from the left. However, the IDF said last week in a statement, “The IDF is a state body, and any attempt to assign a political statement or message to the flyover route is devoid of any basis.
“In previous years, the flyover passed over areas in Judea, Samaria and the Jordan Valley, as well as other areas in the State of Israel, from [Kibbutz] Dan to Eilat.

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“Flight routes change from time to time, with the planes scheduled to overfly localities with more than 30,000 residents, so as to pass over as many of the country’s citizens as possible.

“This year’s flyover will pass over the southern Hebron Hills on the shortest flight path from Hatzerim Air Base to Jerusalem.”

The flyover, which travels from north to south, east and west, is always one of the top highlights of the holiday, prompting entire families to race out of their homes to view the aircraft overhead.

This year the route will take the flights over the northern Dead Sea, Gush Etzion, Kiryat Arba and Hebron, Moshav Hamra in the Jordan Valley, Ma’ale Adumim and Har Adar as well as over the pre-1967 sections of Israel.

“We’re also celebrating independence in Judea and Samaria, together with hundreds of thousands of settlers who for the first time will be able to see the flyover above their homes,” said the Yamina party, led by Prime Minister Naftali Bennett.

Injecting some negative energy, the far-left Peace Now organization called the route “illogical and disgraceful,” maintaining the move gives legitimacy to Jewish communities that were established “in violation of international law” and which it insists are “not part of Israel.”

International spokesperson for the Hebron Jewish Community, Yishai Fleisher, said in a statement, “The flyover of the Independence Day aircraft is a symbol of the heart of Israeli independence.

“There is nothing more normal and more beautiful than those airplanes flying over the very essence and root of the Jewish peoplehood which is the Tomb of the Forefathers and Foremothers in Hebron.”

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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.