The German and Israeli air forces conducted their first joint combat exercises in German airspace Thursday, as the cooperation between the two countries increases.
Officials from both countries described the joint training as emotional and very special. The German air force called the visit a "historic moment."
"This exercise, Blue Wings, is very emotional and we are fully aware of its significance,” said Samuel Mbassa, a German air force lieutenant colonel. “We are proud as Noervenich and the Boelke squadron to be the hosts of the first visit of our Israeli partners in Germany. We are especially proud being able to fly over Germany with them for the first time, side by side."
Mbassa’s Israeli counterpart stressed the value of the two forces working together.
"The flying here is a different feeling,” said Oren, an Israeli air force lieutenant colonel who didn’t give his last name. “Flying here, remembering the past but looking at the future, I think all of us feel it right in our heart how deep the past is but we are looking at the future. We are happy for the option to fly together and the cooperation. I think the cooperation between the air forces is good for both countries."
The Israeli pilots arrived at the Noervenich base in western Germany on Monday. They are training with the German air force for the first week and with planes from the Hungarian air force the second week.
Nazi Germany killed 6 million European Jews and others in the Holocaust.