Published May 04, 2004
WASHINGTON – John Kerry (search) wasn't kidding when he told the Anti-Defamation League (search) that he had a different perspective on Israel. Probably no one else in the room has seen the country upside down from an Israeli Air Force jet.
Kerry said Monday that Tel Aviv kept denying his request to fly one of their planes, but that the colonel who was showing him around Israel during a 1991 visit not only got him into a trainer, but let him take the controls.
"I take it off, we go up into the sky, climb up, head down toward Aqaba," the senator said. "And I wanted to look at Aqaba, so I'm coming down over Aqaba, and I suddenly hear this voice on the intercom, and he says, 'Senator, you'd better turn faster, you're going over Egypt.'"
Kerry said the colonel then gave him permission to do "a little aerobatics" and that he made a loop at about 12,000 feet.
"To be able to come out upside down and look down and catch the horizon in back of me and see all the way down into the Sinai to the old base that had been given up, all the way across into Jordan, all the way out into the Gulf of Aqaba, and to see Israel beneath me, and the lines contained, and to see it all upside down was the perfect way to see the Middle East and Israel," he said.