Base Map

Ramat David Airbase

Ramat David Airbase was established by the British in 1941, as part of the Royal Air Force infrastructure. It was intended to function as an alternative to the base in Haifa, that had been attack by German aircraft during World War Two. 

The base is located in the Jezreel valley, next to the train station located above the pipeline that carried oil from Kirkuk in Iraq to Haifa. The British named the base Ramat David, after David Llloyd George, the British Secretary of State for War during the First World War and Prime Minister between 1916 and 1922. After the base was transferred to IAF hands in 1948 the decision was taken not to change its name, as Lloyd George was a supporter of the Zionists, had opposed the "White Paper" and ensured that the Balfour Declaration was included in the terms of the British Mandate for Palestine. 

Ramat David served as a parachute training school, whose trainees included Hannah Szenes. Outside the base remains a tree under which she wrote her poetry.  

At the entrance to the base one can see the historic aircraft that served there; the Mystère, Meteor, Skyhawk, Phantom, IAI Kfir and Defender Helicopter. Other elements of historical interest include holes remaining from an attack by an Iraqi bomber during the Six Day War and the family accommodation Ron Arad was living in, before he left on the sortie from which he did not return. 

In the fifties the base was nicknamed “Air Force North”, after its location and the fact that it was charged with defending the skies of northern Israel. The base's aircraft participated in Operation "Focus", the operation to destroy Arab air forces before they could even get off the ground at the start of the Six Day War. 

During the Yom Kippur War the base was hit by Syrian FROG missiles, one of which struck the base's family quarters, killing Captain David Dotan, one of the base's pilots. The base's commander, Arlozor "Zorik" Lev, was shot down during an operational sortie in the northern Sinai Peninsula during the same war. His body and the aircraft he was flying were never recovered. 

During the First Lebanon War the base's airplanes and helicopters operated around the clock, and took part in the destruction of the Syrian anti-aircraft missile array in Lebanon's Beqaa Vallery. 

During the Second Lebanon War the base's aircraft hunted for missile launches, and attacked Hizballah infrastructure and other terrorist targets. F-16s from the base also brought down a small "Ababil" UAV intended to blow up a target in Israel.  The base's  Panther helicopters worked alongside the Navy to enforce a Naval blockade of Lebanon. During the war a Hizballah missile hit INS "Hanit" whilst it cruised along Lebanon's coastline. Four soldiers were killed, two of them technicians from the squadron. During Operation "Cast Lead" the base's squadrons took part in air strikes, assisted the ground forces and undertook photography flights. The Panther helicopters took part in patrols of Israel's coastline, investigating foreign ships.