Yisrael Amir

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Yisrael Amir
Born(1902-11-11)November 11, 1902
Vilnius, Russian Empire
DiedNovember 1, 2002(2002-11-01) (aged 99)
AllegianceIsrael Israel Defense Forces
Years of service1929–1969
Commands heldCommander of Sherut Avir, Commander of Israeli Air Force
Battles/warsWorld War II
1947–1949 Palestine war
Suez Crisis
Six-Day War
War of Attrition

Lt. Col. Yisrael Amir (Hebrew: ישראל עמיר; November 11, 1902 – November 1, 2002) was the first commander of the Israeli Air Force.


Yisrael Zabludowski (later Amir) was born in Vilnius, then a part of the Russian Empire. He immigrated to the British Mandate of Palestine in 1923 and joined the newly created Haganah, a Jewish paramilitary group.

Air Force career[edit]

Following Israel's declaration of statehood on May 14, 1948, the Israel Defense Forces was formed from the Haganah and Jewish Brigade. The air wing of the Haganah, Sherut Avir, was reorganized as the Israeli Air Force, and Amir was appointed its first commander by Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion on May 16. Sherut Avir had operated a small collection of aged and non-military aircraft, so the greatest problem facing the new air force was the procurement of modern military airplanes. Amir immediately secured an order of several Messerschmitt fighters and US B-17 Flying Fortress which were ferried to Israel through in Czechoslovakia. Amir retired from his military career in 1969. He died 10 days before his hundredth birthday on November 1, 2002.