January 5th 2015
If you find airplanes and military history captivating, or if you’re touring Israel with children, you won’t want to miss a visit to the Israeli Air Force Museum, devoted to the history of Israeli aviation. Located on the Hatzerim Air Force Base, just west of the Negev city of Beersheva, the museum houses a vast collection of Israeli Air Force equipment, including helicopters and jets. The Hatzerim Air Force Base is also the home of the Israeli Air Force Flight Academy and of the specially trained Israeli Air Force Aerobatic Team who perform in aerial shows.
Here you can view models of each of the 20 airplanes that have been used by the Israeli Air Force since 1948. A separate section of the museum focuses on Israel’s use of air defense. In total, the Air Force Museum exhibits over 140 aircraft and anti-aircraft models, missiles and missile launchers, including some, such as Soviet MiGs, that were captured by Israel during war.
There’s far more to the Air Force Museum than just planes and guns, though. An important section of the museum offers audio-visual exhibits that engage visitors though storytelling. One of the audio-visual exhibits, called “1948 – Takeoff Permitted” illustrates the central role of aircraft in the Israeli War of Independence. Another audio-visual exhibit introduces museum visitors to the men who have served as commanders in the Israeli Air Force. A third, called “Stay Alive,” explores how Israeli Air Force crews survive during war using special equipment, while a fourth exhibition, called “Roots of the Air Force,” reviews the earliest beginnings of the Israeli Air Force. There’s also an exhibit devoted to Israeli civil aviation and the various generations of planes that have been used to fly ordinary citizens and visitors to Israel from around the world.
Guided tours are offered in English, Hebrew and Russian. The Air Force Museum schedules periodic aerial shows and other special events, particularly during holidays such as Israeli’s Independence Day in the spring.
All those planes take up a lot of room, so make sure to wear comfortable shoes here, as you’ll be doing a lot of walking. The exhibits are all on flat ground, so they are wheelchair and stroller accessible.