Roots in the Ground, Head in the Sky.
(photo credit: KKL-JNF)
The young members of this international delegation are spending two weeks touring Israel, visiting air bases and meeting the many faces of Israel.
“This is my first time in Israel, and I’ve found it to be a wonderful country,” said 18-year-old Keerthi Sreenivasan, from the USA. “I’ve been learning about Israel’s history and culture, we’ve met some very special people, including representatives of the air force, and it’s been marvelous.”
Sreenivasan, who lives in Michigan, has been taking part in the cadets’ Civil Air Patrol program since the age of thirteen, initially as a pupil, and now as an instructor. Soon she is due to go to university, where she will combine a pre-medical course with the study of international relations. She hopes to work for the US air force in the future.
Her fellow delegates are involved in aviation in a variety of different countries including France, Germany, Hong Kong, Holland, Switzerland, Britain and the USA. The delegation was organized by International Air Cadet Exchange (IACE), and KKL-JNF has been escorting delegations of this kind for about twenty years now.
“Our aim is to create good-will ambassadors for the State of Israel,” explained Lt. Col. Yinon Bar Shilton, who is in charge of the cadet exchange program. “Youngsters involved in aviation who have had no previous contact with Israel are offered the chance to get to know the country and its air force. Israeli families volunteer to host the delegates, and they take them into their homes and their hearts.”
“Learning about Israel and getting to know the Israeli air force has been a fascinating experience,” said 21-year-old Ming Tso of Hong Kong.
The Air Force Museum, which is situated adjacent to Hatzerim air base in the Negev, leads visitors on a trip down the pathways of the State of Israel’s aeronautical history. Its exhibition comprises around one hundred and fifty different types of aircraft dating from the period between the founding of the Israeli state and the present day.
Read more about the cadets’ visit to Hatzerim, and see photos