Fighters Over Israel: The Story of the Israeli Airforce from the War of Independence to the Bekaa Valley (review)
- Shofar: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Jewish Studies
- Purdue University Press
- Volume 11, Number 2, Winter 1993
- pp. 203-204
- Additional Information
Book Reviews 203 civilization; now it is at the intersection ofJewish, Western Christian, and Palestinian communities. ' Deabsolutization of Israel is crucial to Jewish polities and theology since theologies that legitimate states tend to legitimate injustice. ButJews must also deabsolutize the holocaust. This will free Jews from the Holocaust as future possibility, and it will liberate Israel itself from the throes of redemption, a function it cannot fulfill. A deabsolutized Holocaust will regain its historical call to end the suffering of the Jewish people and all peoples, including the Palestinian peoples. As Jewish theology is freed from state building in Israel and state supporting in the United States, its vocation as an agent of critical reflection will become possible again. Because Jews as a people are no longer innocent, and because Jews are in danger of becoming everything they loathed about their oppressors, Jews must use this experience to choose a new direction. Ellis writes clearly and coherently on an explosive topic. I1is is a book that begs for dialogue and response fromJews inside and outside ofIsrael, from Palestinians, and, not least, from those of us who number ourselves among Western Christians. Ralph W. Klein, Dean Lutheran School of Theology Chicago Fighters Over Israel: The Story of the Israeli Airforce from the War of Independence to the Bekaa Valley, by Lon Nordeen. New York: Orion Books, 1990. 226 pp. $21.95. The Israeli Air Force (IAF) has achieved legendary status in the annals of modern warfare. This small, elite branch of the Israeli Defence Forces succeeded over a fifty-year period in providing Israel with an aerial security umbrella which allowed the Israeli Army to conduct its operations with minimal interference from the combined Arab airforces. From its first days when the IAF could field only several World War II surplus Czech fighters, to the most recent engagements where they flew American-built F-15 and F-16 aircraft, the IAF has maintained a standard of excellence out of the necessity for national survival. If the IAF had been unable to perform with the precision it has become famous for, it is highly questionable whether the state of Isr~el would exist today. It was with this in mind tI1~t Israel set out to create an airforce that was capable of defending the state. 204 SHOFAR Winter 1993 Vol. 11, No.2 Lon Nordeen has written a book which focuses on the development of the Israeli Air Force from its origins to the present. The book, primarily anecdotal, is roughly divided between the wars Israel has fought with its Arab neighbors and the early development and modernization of the IAF. The evolution of the IAF and its performance in combat are recounted by the various 'pilots who flew combat missions in the numerous wars. These narratives are interesting and informative and give the reader a personal perspective of modern air war. Most significant is the emphasis on the changing technology of air war from machine-guns and cannons to the airto -air missile. The surface-to-air missiles, first used with great success by the Arab states during the War ofAttrition and the Yom Kippur War, were also key in the development of new IAF doctrines and performance. The evolution of the dogfight, from contact with an enemy several hundred yards away to the great air battles over the Bekaa in 1982, at distances of five to six miles, are discussed at considerable length. This transformation ofair warfare is presented coherently in an appendix which statistically analyzes the number of air-to-air victories achieved as a result of aircraft cannon versus the increased number of missile victories which appeared in the 1960s. The appendix also contains a considerable amount of information on the diverse planes and helicopters utilized by the IAF from 1948 to 1988. These charts provide a detailed illustration ofthe physical evolution of the IAF from the fIXed-wing World War II fighters to one of the most technologically advanced airforces in the world. The book contains maps of the regions where the IAF operated throughout the fifty years of Israel's existence, as well as a number of photographs and illustrations which ably provide the reader...