From Aircraft Mechanic to Air Force Commander

Benny Peled

Credit:Ya'acov Sa'ar/GPO

Born in Tel Aviv in then British-mandate Palestine, Binyamin “Benny” Peled first served the Holy Land as a teenager in the British military police. But when Israel began her fight for independence, Peled joined the Israeli Air Force (IAF) as a mechanic.

Building Israel’s First Fight Plane

When Israel’s War for Independence broke out, the Jewish state had an air force with no airplanes. One of the first to arrive, a Nazi Messerschmitt BF-109 fighter plane from WWII, came disassembled. But Benny Peled assembled the aircraft, giving Israel her first combat plane. Peled soon moved from mechanic to pilot, patrolling the skies of the Holy Land.

Building Israel’s Air Force

First, Peled fought for Israel’s independence. Then he ushered in the jet age for the Jewish state, commanding Israel’s first three jet fighter squadrons. In 1956, Peled became the first Israeli pilot to use an ejector seat when his plane, struck by Egyptian anti-aircraft fire, went down during the Suez and Sinai campaign.

After serving in the 1967 Six-Day War, Peled became commander of the IAF in 1973. That year, Israel’s enemies attacked on Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year. Despite early losses, Peled successfully led Israel’s response from the air. And then, in 1976, he planned and oversaw Operation Entebbe, the daring rescue of more than 100 hostages held by terrorists in Uganda.

A true lifelong servant and hero of the Holy Land and an Israeli You Should Know, Benny Peled passed away in 2002, and is buried in his hometown of Tel Aviv.

Tags: Benny Peled History IAF IDF Israelis You Should Know Operation Entebbe Yom Kippur War

More From Fellowship Blog

Project Spotlight: Visiting Elderly on Purim

Fellowship Blog

Project Spotlight: Visiting Elderly on Purim

Hundreds of Fellowship volunteers visited the homes of about 1,500 lonely elderly people delivering festive food and singing songs for Purim.

Nanny Sandra Samuel with PM Netanyahu

Fellowship Blog

The Christian Nanny Who Saved a Jewish Child from Terror

Sandra Samuel is a Christian nanny from India who saved the life of a young Jewish boy during the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks.


Fellowship Blog

10 Fabulous Castles and Fortresses in Israel

Israel’s castles date back thousands of years and are full of history and wonder.

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Stay informed about issues affecting Israel, the Jewish people, Jewish-Christian relations, receive daily devotionals, and more.