The Sherut Avir was founded on 10 November 1947, just two weeks prior to the passing of the 1947 UN Partition Plan on 29 November which proposed the division of Palestine into a Jewish state and an Arab state. It was at this time that Haganah leaders brought the Palmach's air branch, the Palavir out of hiding, recognizing the need for an air arm if a Jewish State was established. However, the Sherut Avir would have to be built from scratch. Because of this, its initial strength in comparison with some neighboring air forces, especially Egypt, was quite insignificant. By the time of Israel's declaration of statehood in May 1948, the Sherut Avir had only 25 aircraft. Most of them had come from Aviron, the first Jewish airline in Palestine established in 1936. While Aviron itself was not part of the Haganah, they had worked closely together in liaison, reconnaissance, and medical missions. Between late-1947 and mid-1948, as tensions mounted before the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, Aviron transferred all of its aircraft to the fledgling air force. The second problem faced by the Sherut Avir was a lack of trained airmen and ground crew. Only a handful of mechanics, engineers, pilots, former-RAF servicemen, and Histadrut personnel filled the initial ranks.
The Sherut Avir set up headquarters on Tel Aviv's Montefiore Street and began its air operations just outside at Sde Dov Airport. Its first combat came quickly; just before Christmas, on December 17, 1947, pilot Pinchas Ben-Porat boarded his single engine RWD-13 to ferry a medical doctor to the small town of Beit Eshel. Once he completed that leg of the mission Ben-Porat was supposed to fly to Nevatim, but learning that 200 Arabs were assaulting it, he removed the doors of his aircraft to install a Bren Gun, and with a volunteer gunner and some hand grenades, took off for the village.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Sherut Avir.|
- 1948: The War of Independence, The Jewish Virtual Library
- Israel's Aviation History, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Archived 2009-07-05 at the Wayback Machine
- "Aviron" is founded, Israeli Air Force Official Website
- 101-2 Senior.
- Cohen, Eliezer (1993). Israel's Best Defense. New York: Orion Books. p. 504. ISBN 0-517-58790-4.