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Nevatim
3112'N 3500'E

An underground strategic air command post is reportedly located at Nevatim Air Base. Located south east of Beersheba on the edge of the Negev, this facility was originally built in 1947 as landing strip known as Malhata. In September of 1978 Israeli and Egyptian negotiators met with US President Jimmy Carter at Camp David to negotiate the terms of peace. An agreement was signed in March of 1979 which called for the phased withdrawal of all Israeli troops for the Sinai by 1982. The Camp David Accords were matched by American pledges for security assistance for both Israel and Egypt totaling nearly $3 billion. A new airbase, planned and built by Israel with US funding opened October 1983 with two runways 3,050 meters and 2,440 meters in length. Three of the IDF's key air bases - Ramat David, Tel Nof and Nevatim - are all located close to the pre-1967 cease-fire lines, known as the "Green Line."

In July 1998 it was reported that Turkish warplanes are based at Nevatim on a regular basis as part of an agreement between Turkey and Israel. In return, Israeli jets are based in Turkey. The Elrom Company has prepared a study examining the possibility of establishing a second international airport for Israel at Nevatim. An unusual coalition of mayors and citizens of the Dan Metropolitan area and the Negev has been formed to lobby for developing Nevatim.

Tens of F-16 fighter jets, originating from a base in the south of the country, landed March 31, 2003 at the Nevatim Air Force base. A ceremony for the transfer of the squadron was held in the presence of the Commander of the Israeli Air Force, Major General Dan Halutz. The new squadron will be known as the "Flying Wing." A decade earlier, the IDF chain of command raised the question of whether or not to close the base at Nevatim as a result of budgetary woes. However, with reception of the new squadron and additional changes in the offing, Nevatim has been transformed into one of largest bases in the country. In June 2003, an additional squadron of F-16's arrived at the base, and plans have been made to receive transport planes. F-16's were introduced to the Israeli Air Force in 1980, and serve as the backbone of the IAF. A year after their arrival, the planes were deployed to bomb the Iraqi nuclear reactor. Several of the planes that were moved participated in the attack.





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