Rosh Hashanah in the IAF: Commandments of the Holiday

Rosh Hashanah is one of the major holidays in Israel, and it is characterized by symbols of great significance. You’ll be surprised to see that the features of the holiday are combined with the everyday routine of the IAF: From the custom of „Tashlich” to the disposal of our enemies. A moment before the holiday feast, take a look at the customs of Rosh Hashanah in the IAF setting
Shani Pomes and Shir Aharon Bram

„May our enemies vanish”: The Bomb Disposal Unit

On Rosh Hashanah, we say the following blessing over a beet: „May our enemies and those who hate us and wish us harm vanish”, and also in the IAF, there is someone who takes care of bomb and unexploded ordnance disposal on every base in the country. This unit is called the Sapir Unit, and combat soldiers of the unit in fact belong to Engineering Unit for special operations: an elite unit of the Combat Engineers Division. The unit is stationed in the Palmachim base in order to be close to the experiment fields of the Missile Trial Unit and its combat soldiers specialize in aerial ammunition and armaments. They are present at each armament experiment and in the event that an aircraft carrying weapons crashes, they will be the first to examine them and, if need be, disable them.

„May we be at the head of the year and not the tail”: The Helmet of the Aerial Team Soldiers

The helmet the pilots, navigators, and mechanics wear is one of the most familiar signs of aerial team crew, together with overalls. Everyone in the flying divisions (assault and combat helicopters, light and heavy transport planes, and fighter jets) has his own helmet, adapted to the needs and missions unique to him. The helmet has two designations: the first is simple protection against any penetration of a foreign body (including projectiles), and relief from the power of the blows that may result from an emergency in the cockpit: for this, a mold of the helmet is made using special technology, which gives it strength and resistance to shocks. The second purpose of the helmet is to transfer all relevant information to the pilot in a clear and comfortable way: Through communication systems and data transfer, the soldiers of the aerial team who are in the plane can speak and receive information and data in real-time. Additionally, the helmet is strengthened for maximum movement of the head, and soundproof, which characterizes the cockpit.

„May our good deeds be as many as the seeds in a pomegranate”: Cooperation between the IAF and the Rimon (Pomegranate) Commando Unit

The „Rimon” Commando Unit, the commando unit of the Givati Brigade, was established in recent years and specializes in activities in the vast territories of the deserts in the south of Israel. The unit was established in the legacy of the legendary Rimon Commando Unit and among its various missions, is the helicopter readiness mission. In many cases, combat soldiers of the unit must arrive quickly to deal with different security events. For this, they work on cooperation with the Blackhawk squadrons of the IAF. „We train with helicopter pilots, in order to produce a basis for successful operational cooperation”, explains Sergeant N’, a combat soldier in the unit. „In many exercises, we fly in helicopters and go down at certain points, in order to perform our missions. We have to be coordinated at the right time and place; otherwise, the mission will go down the drain”.

Tashlich: Airdropping troops and supplies

Tashlich is one of the most recognized prayers on Rosh Hashanah, in which the person praying throws all his sins into the water. It is hard to find a prayer that matches this unique prayer, but the IAF offers an opportunity to take part in the throwing: throwing paratroopers from the plane. The Hercules planes have trained for more than five decades for this mission, and recently, a large regimental exercise of the paratrooper brigade was held, in which hundreds of combat soldiers parachuted. Despite the threats, operational airdrops of forces have been used only once in the history of the State of Israel, almost fifty years ago, above the Mitle Pass in Operation Kadesh. In addition to the soldiers in the red unit, Hercules planes can also throw the contents of the cargo: vehicle, food, and operational equipment for forces waiting for it on the ground.

Source / Author: Israeli Air Force