A tour at Hatzerim Israel Air Force Museum on Independence Day 2018
By: Jiao Sida (焦思达 (שדה ג'יאו)
Hatzerim Israeli Air Force museum is an air base located in the Negev Desert in Beer Sheba. It was opened in 1977 and has opened to the public since June 1991. Fortunately, I had the chance to visit the museum on 19th of April, 2018 which was exactly the Independence Day.
I set off from Ramat Gan with 5 Chinese friends and a Israeli friend, Raz Rido. After spending many hours the slow train, we finally arrived at the Air Force Museum. However, It was not like a “museum” in my mind indoors and pictures, but the real thing! which means it was outdoor, huge and plenty of real airplanes. At first, I was frightened because there were soldiers everywhere standing on the entrance of the museum carrying real rifles. However, I found out that they were very nice and even at the same age as we (18-21).
As mentioned earlier, we visited there exactly on the Independence Day, which means it was crowded and there were many people, in edition the weather was dry and hot (as it is located in the desert area). I was not well prepared for this extreme weather in such a small country, and I wore long pants and a jacke
t. It was a silly mistake to dress like this, yet it also made me appreciate the soldiers’ feeling of wearing military uniform part of their daily routine.
The museum is one of the most famous air force museums in the world, with over 140 aircraft displayed. Most of the aircraft are in excellent condition, preserved by the dry desert air. Although the weather was upsetting to me, my heart was still overwhelmed by those huge and well maintained airplanes, including the first warplane of Israel, war trophies and active aircrafts. Many of the planes took part in real wars.
After waiting under the hot sun for a long time, the air force show started. The aircrafts advanced and there were great variety of them. Those aircraft flew through the sky with different shapes like straight line, triangle, and even the shape of a rose! I was deeply impressed by those well trained pilots and their teamwork.
Except the planes, there were also an exhibition of the history of the Israeli Air Force. I learned that Israel Air Force played an important role in all the wars since the establishment of the state, exactly 70 years ago (1948) . Although Israel is a small country, Its air force is considered No.1 in the world.
One thing seemed interesting to me was that there were a lot of children there and they were allowed to touch things and there were so many items for children to actively experience. From my point of view, it was a good way to educate kids. I even heard a boy saying to his mother: ”I want to be a pilot when I grow up!”
After the visit ended, we spent a lot of time waiting for the buses. However, the buses seemed never to come. There were not even taxis in vision. Even my Israeli friend didn’t know what had happened to the public transportation, may be to many people at once. We were desperate under the sun heat and feared from a sand storm coming by. Fortunately, Raz called a taxi who took us to the train station successfully and we finally made it back home.
I had experienced all kinds of things in this trip. No matter pleasant or unsatisfactory, it was a precious experience to me. After all, I have a more general idea of Israel now!