Goings On About Town

yoav@negevdirect.com 01/05/2011 Featured Cause, Inspirational, Israel
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If it works as a column for The New Yorker, it can work for Negev Direct and Beersheva.

So here’s something that happened today, both in and near Beersheva. Ben Gurion University is located in the city and Netzarim air base is just outside.

The 161st Flight School graduation ceremony took place last week in which the new Israeli Air Force pilots earned their ‘wings’ and a bachelor’s degree from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev 
The IAF Flight School is widely considered to be the most prestigious and challenging path in the Israel Defense Forces. Its graduates are an elite few who have passed three years of grueling tests as cadets, including obtaining an officer rank of lieutenant in order to become pilots and navigators.
The ceremony was attended by President of the State of Israel Shimon Peres; Minister of Defense Ehud Barak; Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi; IAF Commander Maj. Gen. Ido Nehushtan; as well as the family and friends of the Flight School graduates.

Maj. Gen. Ido Nehushtan noted that, “courage in the skies and strong roots in the ground are the essence of the IAF’s legendary legacy. Now you are part of it, as aircrew fighters. Dear graduates, the ‘wings’ also symbolize the high expectations of your future. Today you are joining the most elite of our fighters: those fighters whom the people of Israel entrust with their safety every day.â€
A commander of the IAF Flight School, who was one of the first graduates of the BGU/IAF program established six years ago, explained to a group of BGU donors at the Hatzerim base that “the relationship between the base and the University is one of a kind. BGU is capable of being flexible with the constraints of the pilot training course. In fact, the joint effort between the IAF Flight School and the University is the fulfillment of Ben-Gurion’s dream of developing the Negev.â€
The IDF has approved four bachelor degree tracks from BGU: IT management, computer science, government and politics, and economics and management.