Israel Welcomes First Delivery of F-35 Stealth Fighter Jets
JNS.org – Israeli leaders and top US officials were on hand to welcome the first delivery of the state-of-the-art F-35 stealth fighter jets to an air force base in the Jewish state.
The ceremony was attended by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Reuven Rivlin and Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, along with US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter, US Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro and representatives from plane manufacturer Lockheed Martin.
Netanyahu began his remarks by thanking President Barack Obama, Congress and the American people, saying that Israel “was just made stronger today.”
“I want to be clear, anyone who thinks of attacking us, will be attacked,” Netanyahu said. “History has taught us that only strength brings deterrence, only strength brings peace and respect.”
In his remarks, Carter, who is currently on a two-week long global farewell tour, said that the fighter jets are a great symbol of US-Israeli relations and both countries will together “dominate the skies.”
“We’ll continue to provide Israel with the most advanced capabilities, including more F-35s, to sharpen Israel’s military qualitative edge,” Carter said. “With the turmoil in the region, we’re more dedicated to Israel’s security today than ever before.”
The highly anticipated arrival of the fighter jets to the Nevatim Air Force Base was delayed for several hours due to poor weather conditions.
The F-35 is widely viewed as the most advanced fighter aircraft in the world and has the capability to counter even the most sophisticated air defense systems, such as the Russian S-300 and S-400 surface-to-air missiles. Israel is the first foreign country permitted to purchase the planes and has so far committed to buy 52 planes at a cost of roughly $100 million each.