Maj. Gen. Amikam Norkin, current Air Force commander, and Maj. Gen. Amir Eshel, his predecessor.
(photo credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)
Maj.-Gen. Amikam Norkin was appointed commander of the Israel Air Force on Thursday, taking over from Maj.-Gen. Amir Eshel, who held the post for the last four-and-a-half years.
The hand-over ceremony at the Kirya military headquarters in Tel Aviv was attended by Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot and members of the General Staff.
Norkin had been head of the IDF Planning Directorate since July 2015.
Norkin was born in 1966 and grew up in Moshav Beit She’arim in the Jezreel Valley. He joined the IDF in 1985, and in 1988 became the youngest- ever F-15 pilot in the world.
At the ceremony Eshel, who will be retiring from the IDF after 40 years of service, said the air force provides “unprecedented capabilities in our hands that are a basis for the changing security strategy of Israel.
“I know you will succeed, I have no doubt about it,” he told Norkin.
Eisenkot thanked Eshel for his service, saying that, with his “courageous and creative positions,” he had a major influence on the General Staff and the IDF.
Liberman also thanked Eshel for his decades of “significant contribution to the security of the State of Israel,” and wished Norkin luck in his new post.
“Norkin, you are taking on the position and will immediately begin to deal with many challenges. You will have to make our long arm much longer,” Liberman said.