This print is reproduced from artist Rick Herter’s original oil painting. The original measured 34″ x 48″ and was commissioned by the Boeing company. The painting was then presented to the IAF and now hangs at IAF headquarters in Tel Aviv. Herter was invited to Israel and spent a week with the IAF as part of the research documentation for the painting.
In June 1982, the skies over southern Lebanon saw the most massive dogfights since the end of WWII. For years, the PLO and Syrian Army had harassed the villages of northern Israel. Artillery and rocket barrages had taken a heavy toll on Israeli civilians. The Israeli Defense Forces decided to put an end to the attacks by launching a major offensive, code-named “Operation Peace for Galilee.” By invading southern Lebanon, the IDF hoped to drive the PLO to Beirut and then out of the country. Prior to the introduction of ground forces, the Israel Air Force would have to clear the skies of the Syrian Air Force. Of particular concern were the surface-to-air missile (SAM) sites in the Bekaa Valley. The numerous mobile and fixed sites had more than 200 missiles at their disposal, and accompanying the SAMs were nearly 400 anti-aircraft guns.
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