Israel News

10 Incredible Facts About the Israeli Air Force

One of the most famous branches of the Israel Defense Forces is the Air Force, considered among the best in the world.

Read on below to learn some fascinating facts about the Israeli Air Force, including its storied history and the impressive ways it’s fighting Israel’s enemies today!

The Israeli Air Force or IAF was founded on May 28, 1948, shortly after Israeli independence, as a branch of the Israel Defense Forces. It has taken part in every Israeli war and operation since then, often playing a key role in Israeli security and its biggest victories, and garnering both awe and admiration around the world.

Learn more and honor the brave pilots of the IAF with these fun and inspiring facts below!

israeli F15 fighter airplane

1. The Israeli Air Force has two Hebrew names that it's known by: זרוע האויר וההלל or Z'roa HaAvir VeHahalal, literally meaning "Air and Space Arm," and חיל האויר or Kheil HaAvir, meaning "Air Corps."

2. The official insignia used on IAF aircraft is a solid blue Star of David inside a white circle.


Official emblem of the Israeli Air Force, on shirts and other gifts available for purchase here


3. The newly established IAF was already used in Israel's War of Independence in 1948-49. In those years its fleet was made up of donated civilian planes that were converted to military use, salvaged parts from abandoned British planes, and aircraft purchased from Czechoslovakia, some of it smuggled clandestinely in parts and reassembled once in Israel.

Some of the IAF's first pilots were foreign volunteers, mainly WWII veterans from places like the US and UK who enlisted to help the new Israeli state.

4. The Israeli Air Force played a decisive role in the 1967 Six-Day War. It secured Israel's victory early on, through air superiority and by destroying much of the Egyptian, Jordanian, and Syrian air forces within the first hours of the war.

5. Another famous, historic wartime performance by the Israeli Air Force was in 1969-70 during the War of Attrition against Egyptian and Soviet forces. The IAF is reported to have downed 111 enemy aircraft, while losing only 4 itself.

Silhouettes of three F-35 aircraft against the blue sky and white clouds

6. In recent decades, some of the most important and impressive missions by the IAF have involved clandestinely bombing nuclear facilities in enemy countries such as Iraq and Syria, using Mossad intelligence. This has been vital to preventing Israel's enemies from developing nuclear weapons that could be used against it.

7. Aerial warfare is not the only thing the Israeli Air Force is good at! In 1991, the IAF along with Israel's national commercial carrier El Al airlifted thousands of Ethiopian Jews to help them immigrate to Israel as part of Operation Solomon.


Shop magnificent IAF-themed gifts here!


8. Israel's air corps also made history in the 1990s by becoming one of the first in the world to allow female combat fighter pilots!

9. The IAF today is one of the most important components that Israel has for fighting against Hamas and Hezbollah, doing reconnaissance as well as precision strikes and even dropping safety information for local civilians.

In addition, the revolutionary Iron Dome missile defense system is part of and operated by the air force under its Air Defense Division, saving countless Israeli lives with incredible accuracy!

10. The Israeli Air Force is routinely ranked among the top in the world, not for its size but due to the skill, ingenuity, and exceptional training of its pilots.

One of its pilots, the now-retired Giora "Hawkeye" Epstein, holds the world record for the most enemy jet aircraft shot down, and the most enemy takedowns of any kind in the world since the Korean War of 1950-53.



Those are our 10 favorite facts about the Israeli Air Force! Want to learn more about the various parts of the Israel Defense Forces? Check out our posts on the IDF reserves, the Mossad intelligence service, the Home Front Command's Search and Rescue Unit, and the IDF overall.

And don't forget to express your love for Israel and its brave defenders with our special IDF-themed gifts and exclusive Support Israel collection!

ISRAELT-SHIRTS_(C)1200x628 (1)


Purim Traditions Explained
The festive Jewish holiday of Purim will begin on Saturday night, March 23, 2024 – or Sunday night, March 24
Vagone Shoah con Stella di Davide in primo piano
Why Some Are Calling the ICJ Case Against Israel the Modern Dreyfus Affair
As Israel fights one of its toughest wars yet, following the brutal attack by Hamas on October 7, 2023, Israelis
Holding techelet tzitzit during Jewish prayer
How Israel Rediscovered the Ancient Tekhelet Dye
The original Biblical commandment called for adding a blue string called tekhelet to the white tzitzit fringes on one’s tallit or shirt. The exact blue dye
Pomegranate seeds in a shape of a heart on wooden background.
Top Love Symbols in Judaism You Didn't Know About
Check out these uniquely Jewish representations of love, and then get your loved one a romantic Jewish gift right from
Biblical Jewish Priest Standing In Front Of King Solomon's Templ
Who Were the Temple Priests?
Who were the priests of ancient Israel and why were they so important? What did they do in the Holy
Learn About the IDF Special Forces
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) includes various branches and units, and among them are several special forces units (in Hebrew