The traditional Independence Day flyover by the Israel Air Force will be canceled this year to prevent large groups from gathering, the IDF Spokesman’s Unit said on Monday. Instead, the IAF will fly four training planes over hospitals all over Israel in a salute to medical staffers during the holiday on Wednesday of next week.
The Air Force’s aerial acrobatics team began practicing for the limited flyover, and they were seen in the skies all over the country. The flyover will be broadcast on Independence Day.
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According to the new emergency regulations approved by the cabinet on Sunday morning, no more than two customers can be present in a store, no more than 10 at a wedding or circumcision ceremony, and no more than 19 at a prayer service. As a result, people are also barred from gathering for such events as the flyover. On Saturday night, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said all Memorial Day and Independence Day events would be held without an audience present.
Haaretz has tried to learn how much the annual flyover has cost in the past, but the IDF has refused to provide that information. An hour of flight for an advanced fighter plane is estimated to cost about $40,000, while older planes and helicopters cost an estimated $10,000 to $20,000 to fly. The traditional flyover lasts about four or five hours – in addition to the practice flights.