Founded during the 1947-1949 War of Independence, the Israeli Air Force earned its reputation for combat efficiency during the 1956 Sinai Campaign and the 1967 Six-Day War. These victories convinced the Israelis that they possessed an invincible military whose air arm guaranteed ``clean skies'' and provided a far-reaching force to thwart surprise attacks. As the author of this popular history reveals, the 1973 Yom Kippur War shattered this delusion, as Egyptian airplanes achieved the first strike, catching the IAF unprepared. Cohen chronicles the IAF's successes and misfires, introduces leaders and heroes, explains IAF organization and training methods and reviews its procurement and testing policies and how the American-built F-15 and F-16 fighter-bombers became the backbone of the IAF. The book offers a fresh version of the IAF's role in the 1976 hostage-rescue mission at Entebbe, which the author cites as a significant turning point: concentration shifted toward the war against terrorism. Cohen, himself a veteran of air combat in several of Israel's wars, incorporates his own and other pilots' recollections into his fast-moving narrative. Photos. (Oct.)
This book repeats many of the same war stories told in Ehud Yonay's No Margin for Error ( LJ 3/1/93) , from the rickety beginnings of the Israeli Air Force (IAF) to its outstanding successes in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s. A former pilot in the IAF who now works for El Al Airlines, Cohen offers up far more historical details than Yonay. He is also able to place the personal tales of pilots and squadrons into the broader context of the development of the IAF, the changes in its strategy, and the impact of its victories. There are still victory rolls and gut-pounding G-Turns, but these high-altitude tales are grounded in discussions of the policies of David Ben-Gurion and Shimon Peres. There is also more insight into and analysis of Israel's enemies. Unfortunately, like Yonay, Cohen still lacks a central theme and ends without an insightful conclusion, but his book makes good reading for popular collectionss-- John Yurechko, Georgetown Univ., Washington, D.C.
Cohen, a 24-year veteran pilot and senior officer, flew or served with virtually all the key figures in the development of Israeli air power, which has played a key role in Israel's defense. He chronicles the events, training methods, and tactics that have enabled the IAF to develop and maintain its remarkable effectiveness. No bibliography. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
This book ranks with Yonay's "No Margin for Error". Written by a veteran Israeli pilot who spent much of his career in helicopters, its account runs from the war of independence through the Persian Gulf conflict. It has fewer sketches of the fascinating variety of personalities who built the Israeli Air Force than Yonay provided, and it calls for a little more background in overall Israeli military history to be fully appreciated. Its advantages over Yonay lie in its many and more-detailed combat accounts (the dogfights of the Yom Kippur War are enthralling) and the fact that its coverage extends an entire generation beyond that of "No Margin". Beyond comparisons, it is ultimately a tribute to those who, in spite of fumbles, glitches, and chronic scarcities, built the world's most proficient air force.