Thursday, February 03, 2005

On to Jerusalem

We stopped at an Air Force base on the way to Jerusalem. The Academy is there as well, and we got to eat lunch with some of the cadets. Apparently there is now more emphasis on academic training, not just flying, and they were leaving to study for their economics test. It was macro, not micro (which I once took) so I was unable to help them. I did say "money supply, inflation, unemployment" to help them, but they just groaned.

One of the cadets was a young woman, and we were told that there are no limits placed on women in the Israeli Air Force. Very few of them become fighter pilots (I think there is just one now) and the woman at my table was training to fly the C-130. Some of the others were navigators, and one fellow was a fighter pilot.

One of the squadron commanders gave us a bit of background on the place. He was wearing a patch that some folks thought was rather funny, it said "Size does matter" and had the silhouette of a 707. We learned later that he was the pilot of Israel's equivalent of Air Force One.

We got to see some of the Black Hawk helicopters in use at the base. They are used not just for military rescue, but for civilian car wrecks as well, especially in the Negev. There is not the sharp line between the military and the civilian that exists in the US.

We did a bit more of the "hands on" part today. Went to a group home to paint, fix up the garden, and set up the computers. I got the last two jobs, and tried to explain how to prune the rose bushes. It was fun, and very interesting to learn about. They had shown us a heart-breaking video about the kids who end up in the home, one fellow is now with a national dance company, and would likely be on the streets or in jail were it not that they had taken him in.

It is a bit harder to blog than I had thought, finding time to get away to an internet cafe, and finding the energy to type are both difficult. Perhaps next time I will schlep a laptop, and blog when I can't sleep.

We heard Raanan Gissin last night. He expressed cautious optimism about Abbas. It was interesting also to hear his take on Iraq, his concern seemed to be with the tribal aspects of the region, more than anything else. I suppose we have to await not only the results of the Iraqi election, but the political games which will follow.


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