Fighter jets from the Israeli Air Force landed in Germany for the first time ever on Monday, ahead of a symbolic memorial event and joint military exercises between the two countries.
Der Inspekteur der Luftwaffe, Generalleutnant Ingo Gerhartz, führte persönlich eine Ehrenskorte von zwei Eurofighter an um den israelischen Air Chief im deutschen Luftraum zu begrüßen. #Team_Luftwaffe schreibt Geschichte. @IDF @IAFsite pic.twitter.com/JbyQMB0QwP— Team_Luftwaffe (@Team_Luftwaffe) August 17, 2020
This is history.— Israel Defense Forces (@IDF) August 17, 2020
The moment the Israeli Air Force, led by Maj. Gen. Amikam Norkin, entered into German airspace for the first time ever & was welcomed by the Luftwaffe Commander, Lt. Gen. Ingo Gerhatz: pic.twitter.com/CSkFBXnkzE
The Israeli jets arrived at the Nörvenich airbase near the western German city of Cologne. "The six F-16 aircraft are taking part in the BlueWings2020 and MAGDAYs exercises over the next two weeks," the German Air Force said on Twitter.
A German-Israeli formation is set to fly over the Fuerstenfeldbruck airbase on Tuesday, to commemorate the 1972 attack on the Summer Olympics in Munich in which 11 Israeli athletes were killed.
"The return flight passes the outskirts of Dachau. Afterwards, the German-Israeli delegation will lay a wreath at the concentration camp memorial site there and commemorate the victims of the Holocaust and the tyranny of National Socialism," the German Air Force said last week.
'Moving sign of our friendship'
"It is a moving sign of our friendship today that we are flying side by side with the Israeli Air Force for the first time in our history," Luftwaffe Inspector Lieutenant General Ingo Gerhartz said.
Because of the Holocaust, Germany has an incentive "to fight anti-Semitism with the utmost consistency," he added.
German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer and Israeli Ambassador Jeremy Issacharoff will join the team to take part in the subsequent memorial service.
The German Air Force took part in joint drills in 2019 in the Israeli Negev desert.