For plane lovers, this is a field of dreams. The open-air museum (housed on the active Hatzerim Air Force Base) is a gigantic concrete field with more than a hundred airplanes and helicopters parked in rows. The fighter, transport, and training (plus a few enemy) aircraft tell the story of Israel's aeronautic history, from the Messerschmitt—obtained in 1948 from Czechoslovakia, and one of four such planes to help halt the Egyptian advance in the War of Independence—to
the Kfir, the first fighter plane built in Israel. The young air force personnel who staff the museum lead tours that take about 1½ hours and include a movie shown in an air-conditioned Boeing 707 used in the 1977 rescue of Israeli passengers held hostage in a hijacked Air France plane in Entebbe, Uganda. Another attention-getting display is a shiny, black Supermarine Spitfire with a red lightning bolt on its side, flown by Ezer Weizmann, the IAF's first pilot and later president of Israel. The museum also houses an antiaircraft exhibit and a rare collection of historical and instructive films. Tours are available in English, French and Russian.
Rte. 2357, Beersheva, Israel