Magister displayed in Kissimmee as IDF soldiers sang in Maitland

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The Kissimmee Air Museum’s Magister.
Photo: John Stemple

Recently, two separate but somewhat associated attractions were visible in the Orlando area. At one location a Fouga Magister in Israel Air Force (IAF) livery sat silently outside a hanger at the Kissimmee Air Museum in Kissimmee, Fla. Later that same day an ensemble of soldiers from the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) performed only 31 miles away at a venue in Maitland, Fla.

An IDF ensemble singing in Maitland.
Photo: John Stemple

Magisters are jet trainers of French design. Israel produced a version under license named the Tzukit. The IAF operated the type for many years. Although principally a training aircraft, the planes operated during the 1967 Six Day War in a close air support role. The armed aeroplanes attacked targets on the Egyptian front on the first day of the war. Subsequently, the trainers sortied against Jordanian forces on the West Bank. The Tzukit proved effective, but its relatively slow speed and low-altitude operations made the type vulnerable.

The Magister owned by the Kissimmee Air Museum is a product of Finland. It is at the Kissimmee Gateway Airport. The gallery’s address is 233 North Hoagland Boulevard in Kissimmee. The facility is open Monday through Saturday 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Further information is available by phoning (407) 870-7366.

The Yom L’Chayal or “A Day To Salute Our Soldiers” concert took place on the 65th anniversary of the United Nations’ passing Resolution 181 that permitted the partition of British-ruled Palestine. This action enabled the formal establishment of the modern State of Israel. The melodious event took place at Congregation Ohev Shalom amidst heavy security. A near-capacity and enthusiastic crowd welcomed the visitors who were appearing courtesy of the nonprofit organization Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF).

FIDF initiates and helps support educational, social, cultural and recreational programs and facilities for the young soldiers of Israel who defend the Jewish homeland. FIDF also supports the families of fallen soldiers. Other performers included choristers from Congregation Ohev Shalom, Temple Shir Shalom, and the Jewish Academy’s Children Choir. Attendees included members of the public, local individuals who previously served with the IDF and Sar-El volunteers, and media representatives. The FIDF’s Greater Miami Regional Office in North Miami, Fla., was the primary sponsor.

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