Opinion |

It’s Not an F-16, It’s God

For Israeli Jews, air force jets are divine; the air supremacy they are supposed to afford makes them omnipotent

Rogel Alpher
Rogel Alpher
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An Israeli F-16 fighter jet takes part in a training session during the 'Novel Dina 17' exercise in the Mediterranean in April 2017.
An Israeli F-16 fighter jet takes part in a training session during the 'Novel Dina 17' exercise in the Mediterranean in April 2017. Credit: JACK GUEZ/AFP
Rogel Alpher
Rogel Alpher

Since World War I, countless fighter jets have been downed. Planes of the British, German, Japanese, Soviet, U.S. and other armies have been downed over Europe, Vietnam, Afghanistan, the Pacific Ocean and every other possible battlefield on every continent. They didn’t simply plummet to earth due to technical failure; they were shot down by other fighter planes or by anti-aircraft fire — despite being the best fighter planes of their time, flown by the best pilots humanity has ever created, pilots no less skilled than those of the Israeli air force, even if they were goyim.

Yet it seems news of a downed fighter has never before been met with the shock and dismay that greeted the terrible tidings that an Israeli fighter plane was brought down by Syrian anti-aircraft fire about a week ago. Israeli Jews were beside themselves. Their attitude toward the burning fragments of their fighter plane was as if a tribal totem had been blown up and torched, true desecration; as if their national pride had been castrated.

What a religious ritual was conducted over that plane. In the history of aerial warfare, it’s doubtful that any plane has ever been treated so religiously, like a false god revealed as mortal, Superman dropped from the sky, against all odds.

For Israeli Jews, air force jets are divine; the air supremacy they are supposed to afford is a divine supremacy that gives them the powers of omnipotent gods. The planes are supposed to be invulnerable, and the pilots who fly them are supposed to be angels. Angels do not commit human errors.

Images of the direct hits by Israel Air Force fighter jets on small, remote targets on the ground — images that are shown on television, eliciting awe from viewers, in which the crosshairs of the plane’s gunsight could be seen homing in on its target — attest to the superpowers of this divine plane and its angelic pilots.

They see everything from on high. Like God, nothing, no matter how small or how hidden, escapes their eyes. Nothing can escape their vengeful divine fire.

Like God, the Israeli fighter jet is omnipresent and can reach anywhere. It has a long arm. It’s the perfect predator, king of the skies. It’s an eagle, while Israeli Jews’ enemies, the Iranians and the Arabs, are nothing but rabbits and mice that flee in panic for their burrows and holes.

How much awe and respect the Israeli fighter jet inspires in the hearts of Israeli Jews! During the Independence Day flyover, they wave tiny flags at it and clap for it. In their hearts, they bow down to it.

How, how is it possible that our totem has been smashed to smithereens? What an insult. What a national humiliation for Israeli Jews. What panic reigned upon hearing the terrible news of the disaster. The people refused to believe it.

IAF Chief of Staff Brig. Gen. Tomer Bar had an explanation for this supernatural event, Syria’s success in downing an Israeli fighter plane. “It’s chutzpah on the Syrians’ part to fire missiles at us,” he explained.

In other words, the Syrians are also supposed to worship the Israeli fighter jet and refrain from harming it and rousing its wrath. After all, men are supposed to respect the supremacy of the gods. It is conceivable that a man should challenge Zeus? What happened here was nothing less than the Syrians violating the global order. It was effrontery on their part.

And this is the height of the Israeli air force’s God complex. The Syrians aren’t supposed to defend themselves, but merely to pray that the Israeli fighter jet will have mercy on them.

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