Israel’s Independence Day flyover will for the first time include the West Bank city of Hebron and the nearby Kiryat Arba settlement.
The Israel Air Force event has included a number of Israeli settlements in past years, however, the small Jewish community that is home to the Tomb of the Patriarchs has never been part of the event.
Hebron Jewish community spokesperson Yishai Fleisher said on Sunday, “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.”
The Yesha Council said it welcomed the IAF’s decision to fly over the “ancestral city of Hebron, which is the cradle of the existence of the Jewish people. It is a just and worthy decision that emphasizes the right – and the source of our pride – as a country after 2,000 years of exile.”
Within the West Bank, the aerial parade of planes will also pass over the northern Dead Sea and the Gush Etzion region as well as Hamra in the Jordan Valley, Ma’aleh Adumim and Har Adar.
MK Mossi Raz (Meretz) said the flyover should not include any settlements, explaining that the planes should not pass over the “heads of millions of [Palestinian] residents living under occupation.”
“It is an unnecessary and defiant act that demonstrates power and superiority. It can still be changed,” Raz said.
The left-wing group Peace Now said that holding an Independence Day flyover outside of Israel’s sovereign territory was illogical and disgraceful.
“It gives legitimacy to settlements established in violation of international law and not part of Israel,” the group stated.