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In historic tribute, Israeli and German air forces fly over Dachau, Olympic site

During first joint drill on German soil, planes overfly Nazi concentration camp, also buzz Fuerstenfeldbruck airfield to honor 11 Israeli athletes killed in 1972 Munich massacre

  • Israeli Air Force commander Amikam Norkin, right, German Air Force Commander Ingo Gerhartz, left, and five IAF pilots pose for a photograph before taking part in a flyby over Munich and the Dachau concentration camp on August 18, 2020. (Israel Defense Forces)
    Israeli Air Force commander Amikam Norkin, right, German Air Force Commander Ingo Gerhartz, left, and five IAF pilots pose for a photograph before taking part in a flyby over Munich and the Dachau concentration camp on August 18, 2020. (Israel Defense Forces)
  • German air force Bundeswehr Eurofighters and Israeli Air Force F-16 jets and a Gulfstream plane fly in formation near Munich in commemoration of the 1972 Munich Olympic Games massacre in which 11 Israeli athletes were killed, on August 18, 2020. (Israel Defense Forces)
    German air force Bundeswehr Eurofighters and Israeli Air Force F-16 jets and a Gulfstream plane fly in formation near Munich in commemoration of the 1972 Munich Olympic Games massacre in which 11 Israeli athletes were killed, on August 18, 2020. (Israel Defense Forces)
  • A German air force Eurofighter and an Israeli Air Force F-16 jet fly in formation near Munich in commemoration of the 1972 Munich Olympic Games massacre in which 11 Israeli athletes were killed, on August 18, 2020. (Israel Defense Forces)
    A German air force Eurofighter and an Israeli Air Force F-16 jet fly in formation near Munich in commemoration of the 1972 Munich Olympic Games massacre in which 11 Israeli athletes were killed, on August 18, 2020. (Israel Defense Forces)
  • German air force Bundeswehr Eurofighters and Israeli Air Force F-16 jets and a Gulfstream plane fly in formation near Munich in commemoration of the 1972 Munich Olympic Games massacre in which 11 Israeli athletes were killed, on August 18, 2020. (Israel Defense Forces)
    German air force Bundeswehr Eurofighters and Israeli Air Force F-16 jets and a Gulfstream plane fly in formation near Munich in commemoration of the 1972 Munich Olympic Games massacre in which 11 Israeli athletes were killed, on August 18, 2020. (Israel Defense Forces)
  • German air force Bundeswehr Eurofighters and Israeli Air Force F-16 jets and a Gulfstream plane fly in formation over the Dachau concentration camp in Germany on August 18, 2020. (Israel Defense Forces)
    German air force Bundeswehr Eurofighters and Israeli Air Force F-16 jets and a Gulfstream plane fly in formation over the Dachau concentration camp in Germany on August 18, 2020. (Israel Defense Forces)
  • German air force Bundeswehr Eurofighters and Israeli Air Force F-16 jets and a Gulfstream plane fly in formation near Munich in commemoration of the 1972 Munich Olympic Games massacre in which 11 Israeli athletes were killed, on August 18, 2020. (Christof STACHE / AFP)
    German air force Bundeswehr Eurofighters and Israeli Air Force F-16 jets and a Gulfstream plane fly in formation near Munich in commemoration of the 1972 Munich Olympic Games massacre in which 11 Israeli athletes were killed, on August 18, 2020. (Christof STACHE / AFP)
  • German air force Bundeswehr Eurofighters and an Israeli Air Force jets fly in formation over the Fuerstenfeldbruck airbase in commemoration of the 1972 Olympic Games assassination attempt in Fuerstenfeldbruck, Germany, Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020. (Sven Hoppe/dpa via AP)
    German air force Bundeswehr Eurofighters and an Israeli Air Force jets fly in formation over the Fuerstenfeldbruck airbase in commemoration of the 1972 Olympic Games assassination attempt in Fuerstenfeldbruck, Germany, Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020. (Sven Hoppe/dpa via AP)
  • Plane spotting enthusiasts photograph the approach of an Israeli F-16 bomber at the airbase at Noervenich, western Germany on August 17, 2020. (Roberto Pfeil / dpa / AFP)
    Plane spotting enthusiasts photograph the approach of an Israeli F-16 bomber at the airbase at Noervenich, western Germany on August 17, 2020. (Roberto Pfeil / dpa / AFP)

German and Israeli Air Force jets flew over the former Nazi concentration camp Dachau on Tuesday in tribute to the Jews and others killed there in the Holocaust.

Two Israeli F-16s and two German Eurofighters escorted an Israeli Air Force Gulfstream G-550 carrying the commanders of both air forces over the camp memorial outside Munich, while a third Eurofighter filmed the formation from the sky.

They also flew over the nearby Fuerstenfeldbruck airfield to pay tribute to the 11 Israeli athletes killed during the Munich massacre attack during the 1972 Summer Olympics.

Two athletes were killed and another nine taken hostage by the Palestinian terror group Black September from the Olympic Village on September 5, 1972. During a botched rescue attempt at the airfield by German police, the other athletes, along with five of their captors and a West German police officer, were killed.

The Israeli aircraft are part of a group of six F-16s, two Gulfstreams and two Boeing 707 tanker jets that arrived in Germany on Monday for two weeks of exercises.

Operating out of a German air base in the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia, they will be conducting exercises with the German air force for the first week, and also planes from the Hungarian air force in the second week.

It is the first time ever that the Israeli Air Force has participated in such exercises in Germany. A total of around 180 Israeli personnel are involved.

"זיכרון לעתיד"

הלב מלא בגאווה ❤️????????! לפני זמן קצר חלף מטס ההצדעה המשותף של חיל-האוויר הישראלי והגרמני "זיכרון לעתיד" מעל מחנה הריכוז "דכאו", ומעל שדה התעופה "פירסטנפלדברוק", לזכר קורבנות השואה ו-11 חללי אולימפיאדת מינכןחיל האוויר

פורסם על ידי ‏צה"ל – צבא ההגנה לישראל‏ ב- יום שלישי, 18 באוגוסט 2020

Luftwaffe chief Ingo Gerhartz in a statement called the joint exercise “a sign of our friendship today.”

Two German air force Bundeswehr Eurofighters and an Israeli Air Force jet fly in formation over the Fuerstenfeldbruck airbase in commemoration of the 1972 Olympic Games assassination attempt in Fuerstenfeldbruck, Germany, Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020. (Sven Hoppe/dpa via AP)

He said it was also a reminder that Germany has an enduring responsibility “to fight anti-Semitism with the utmost consistency” because of its Nazi past.

The IAF said the mission, which runs until August 28, will give its pilots a chance to practice in unfamiliar surroundings and will include simulated dogfights, air-to-ground battles and missile threats.

Israeli pilots will also take part in aerial maneuvers with Germany and other NATO members during the deployment.

Germany and Israel have stepped up their military cooperation in recent years, with the Luftwaffe taking part in joint exercises in the Israeli Negev desert in 2019.

German air force Bundeswehr Eurofighters and Israeli Air Force F-16 jets and a Gulfstream plane fly in formation near Munich in commemoration of the 1972 Munich Olympic Games massacre in which 11 Israeli athletes were killed, on August 18, 2020. (Sven Hoppe/dpa via AP)

But the landmark Israeli visit to Germany is heavy with history.

More than 40,000 Jews were killed at Dachau during World War II.

It will be “a very moving event for everyone,” said an Israeli officer identified as Major T, whose own grandfather was a Holocaust survivor, earlier on Tuesday.

The homage comes as Germany grapples with an upsurge in anti-Semitic and far-right violence, 75 years after the defeat of the Nazi regime.

In the eastern city of Halle last year, a neo-Nazi shot dead two people after trying but failing to storm a synagogue.

The attack prompted Chancellor Angela Merkel to say Germany needed “to do more” to protect Jewish people.

In June, German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer ordered the partial dissolution of Germany’s elite KSK commando force after revelations that some of its members harboured neo-Nazi sympathies.

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