IAF Commanders

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Aharon Remez

July 1948 - December 1950

Major General (retired) Aharon Remez, the Israeli Air Force's second Commander in Chief, was born in Israel in 1919. His father, David Remez, was one of the leaders of the yishuv. In 1936, at the age of 17, he joined the Haganah, and in 1941 volunteered for the Royal Air Force (RAF) of the United Kingdom. There, he successfully completed Flight School, qualifying as a combat pilot.

During the Second World War he served in the RAF on the European Front, and logged in the region of 800 flight hours on various models of Spitfire, Hurricane and Tempest. After the war he stayed in Europe and assisted in the emigration of Holocaust survivors to Mandatory Palestine. After completing his service with the RAF, in February 1947, Remez returned to the yishuv and took a position in Haganah headquarters. In August of the same year, David Ben-Gurion and the Haganah leadership asked Remez to plan the establishment of an Air Force for the future Jewish state. On the establishment of the Force, known as "Air Services", Remez was appointed Operations Officer. In this capacity, he dealt with procurement, and with preparing British army bases to serve as Israeli Air Force Bases.

After a short period of time he was appointed head of Air Services Headquarters, and in July 1948, roughly three months after the establishment of the State of Israel, he took over from Yisrael Amir as Commander in Chief of the Israeli Air Force. In this role Remez worked in the belief the Air Force should be an independent arm within the IDF, with a separate leadership structure equal to that of the ground forces, that was not dependant on the services provided by the General Staff.

After the War of Independence, Remez pursued this goal further, in particular aiming to increase the budget set aside for the Air Force. However, he encountered opposition from amongst the general staff, headed by the then Chief of Staff, Yigal Yadin. In the wake of his struggle to increase the IAF's independence Remez resigned in December 1950, handing over command of the Air Force to Shlomo Shamir.

After his resignation he was dispatched to the US by the Ministry of Defence, where he was responsible for an acquisitions program. Remez remained in the US until 1953, and studied Management Science and International Relations at Harvard and Princeton universities. On his return to Israel, he was appointed advisor to the Minister of Defence on aviation affairs, serving in this role for a year, until the end of his IDF service in 1954.

After his release from the IDF, Remez took on various roles in the Foreign Ministry, Ministry of Defence and Ministry of Transport. He was also a Mapai Member of the Knesset in the third Knesset, Director of the Ports Authority, Director of the Airports Authority, Ambassador to the United Kingdom, and CEO of Koor Industries.

Aharon Remez passed away on 2nd April 1994, at the age of 75.

 

Aharon Remez
Aharon Remez