Cadet Travels to Israel for International Air Cadet Exchange

From July 17th to August 2nd 2018, I had the amazing opportunity of spending two weeks in Israel through the International Air Cadet Exchange programme.

Five UK cadets travelled from Heathrow, London to Ben Gurion Airport in Israel to meet another 8 cadets from overseas. The countries included the USA, France, Netherlands, Germany and Hong Kong. Throughout the two weeks, we were escorted by a team of members from the Israeli Defence Force.

We stayed with host families, people that are incredibly important to the programme, as they volunteer to look after us, and without them, the visits may not be as possible. They help us discover the way Israeli’s live their lives day to day and appreciate the amazing country they call home.

We took part in a large variety of activities, ranging from civilian to military. For example, we visited a variety of Israeli Air Force Bases including Hatzermin, Palmachim, Ramat-David and Nevatim; having an opportunity to view operations of the Israeli Airforce and view the F-16’s, F-15’s, C-130’s and more.

Israel is rich with history, and the cadets had the opportunity to discover this through visiting a range of historical sightings to museums (Like the Holocaust museum Yad Vashem), to cities like Jerusalem, the heart of the country. We also partook in more leisure activities such as camel riding, tree planting, wine tasting at the Golan Heights winery, rafting in the Jordan River, swimming/spa in the Dead Sea, shopping in Tel Aviv- these are only a few!

After visiting all four corners of the country, it is evident how beautiful of a place it really is. We are all aware how Israel is portrayed in the media; a war torn country, a no-go zone. But, I can confidently say that this is not the case. From my experience, Israel is a stunning place, fully with history, wildlife and culture. The scenery was breathtaking, with vast mountains, deserts and beaches.

We felt incredibly welcomed and comfortable- safe. I would love to go again if I am ever presented an opportunity. I recommend any cadet to look into partaking in the IACE programme, it has been one of the pinnacles of my cadet career, I have made life-long friends and I feel exceptionally honoured to have been given a place on this fantastic visit!

CWO Shannon Copeland